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Journal Article

Are Generous People More Likely To Vote? Tax Price Effects of Charitable Giving on Voting Behavior

Barış K. Yörük
Annals of Economics and Statistics
No. 119/120, SPECIAL ISSUE ON HEALTH AND LABOUR ECONOMICS (December 2015), pp. 345-373
Published by: GENES on behalf of ADRES
DOI: 10.15609/annaeconstat2009.119-120.345
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Page Count: 29
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Are Generous People More Likely To Vote? Tax Price Effects of Charitable Giving on Voting Behavior
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Policymakers in the United States and many other countries encourage charitable giving through various subsidies. In the United States, for instance, charitable contributions can be deducted from taxable income making the price of giving inversely related to the marginal tax rate. However, the net effects of such subsidies can be better understood by exploring the relationship between charitable giving and other types of prosocial behavior. This paper investigates the spillover effects of charitable subsidies on voting behavior using four surveys of charitable giving in the United States conducted from 1992 to 2001. Understanding the relationship between these two prosocial behaviors may be quite important given the ongoing debates about designing alternative policies to increase voter turnout rates. The results show that charitable giving and voting are complements. Increasing the tax price of giving not only decreases the probability of giving and contribution amount but also the probability of voting in presidential elections with an implied elasticity of the propensity of vote with respect to the tax price of giving as much as −0.34. This effect is robust under different specifications and highlights the externalities created by charitable subsidies. JEL: H24, H31, L38. / KEY WORDS: Charitable Giving, Tax Price of Giving, Voting.

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