Public Choice

, Volume 154, Issue 1–2, pp 39–58

Charitable giving in the German welfare state: fiscal incentives and crowding out

  • Timm Bönke
  • Nima Massarrat-Mashhadi
  • Christian Sielaff


There are two ways that government activities influence private charitable giving: (1) government spending on the provision of public goods may cause crowding out of private charitable contributions; and (2) tax incentives may boost private charitable giving. From a sample of German income tax returns, we estimate the elasticity of charitable giving relative to tax incentives, income, and government spending. Using censored quantile regression analysis, we derive results for different points of the underlying distribution of charitable giving. Evaluating overall treasury efficiency, the tax deductibility of charitable donations fosters enough private giving to offset foregone tax revenues.


Charitable giving Crowding out Price and income elasticity Censored quantile regression Income tax return data 

JEL Classification

C31 H31 H53 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timm Bönke
    • 1
  • Nima Massarrat-Mashhadi
    • 2
  • Christian Sielaff
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Public Finance and Social PolicyFreie Universitaet BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of Finance, Accounting and TaxationFreie Universitaet BerlinBerlinGermany

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