NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Adam Looney

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Working Papers

August 2007Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence
with Raj Chetty, Kory Kroft: w13330
A central assumption in public finance is that individuals optimize fully with respect to the incentives created by tax policies. In this paper, we test this assumption using two empirical strategies. First, we conducted an experiment at a grocery store where we posted tax-inclusive prices for 750 products subject to sales tax for a three week period. Using scanner data, we find that posting tax-inclusive prices reduced demand by roughly 8 percent among the treated products relative to control products and nearby control stores. Second, we find that state-level increases in excise taxes (which are included in posted prices) reduce aggregate alcohol consumption significantly more than increases in sales taxes (which are added at the register and hence less salient). Both sets of result...

Published: Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1145-77, September. citation courtesy of

August 2006The Effect of Anticipated Tax Changes on Intertemporal Labor Supply and the Realization of Taxable Income
with Monica Singhal: w12417
We use anticipated changes in tax rates associated with changes in family composition to estimate intertemporal labor supply elasticities and elasticities of taxable income with respect to the net-of-tax wage rate. Changes in the ages of children can affect marginal tax rates through provisions of the tax code that are tied to child age and dependent status. We identify behavioral responses to these tax changes by comparing families who experienced a tax rate change to families who had a similar change in dependents but no resulting tax rate change. A primary advantage of our approach is that these changes can be anticipated, allowing us to estimate substitution effects that are not confounded by life-cycle income effects. We estimate an intertemporal elasticity of family labor earning...
October 2005Income Risk and the Benefits of Social Insurance: Evidence from Indonesia and the United States
with Raj Chetty: w11708
This paper examines the welfare consequences of social safety nets in developing economies relative to developed economies. Using panel surveys of households in Indonesia and the United States, we find that food consumption falls by approximately ten percent when individuals become unemployed in both countries. This finding suggests that introducing a formal social insurance program would have small benefits in terms of reducing consumption fluctuations in Indonesia. However, in contrast with households in the U.S., Indonesians use costly methods such as reducing human capital investment to smooth consumption. The primary benefit of social insurance in developing countries may therefore come not from consumption smoothing itself but from reducing the use of inefficient smoothing methods.

Published:

Consumption Smoothing and the Welfare Consequences of Social Insurance in Developing Economies
with Raj Chetty: w11709
Studies of risk in developing economies have focused on consumption fluctuations as a measure of the value of insurance. A common view in the literature is that the welfare costs of risk and benefits of social insurance are small if income shocks do not cause large consumption fluctuations. We present a simple model showing that this conclusion is incorrect if the consumption path is smooth because individuals are highly risk averse. Empirical studies find that many households in developing countries rely on inefficient methods to smooth consumption, suggesting that they are indeed quite risk averse. Hence, social safety nets may be valuable in low-income economies even when consumption is not very sensitive to shocks.

Published: Chetty, Raj & Looney, Adam, 2006. "Consumption smoothing and the welfare consequences of social insurance in developing economies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(12), pages 2351-2356, December. citation courtesy of

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

 
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