News and analysis
October 02, 2011

Tax Policy and Giving: A Collection of Key Studies

For decades, scholars have been researching the relationship between tax policy and charitable giving. Here are key studies on the topic.

Academic Studies

Gerald E. Auten, James M. Cilke, and William C. Randolph. National Tax Journal, September 1992.  "The Effects of Tax Reform on Charitable Contributions."

Gerald E. Auten, Sieg Holder, and Charles T. Clotfelter, American Economic Review, March 2002. "Charitable Giving, Income, and Taxes: An Analysis of Panel Data."

Jon Bakija and Bradley T. Heim, National Tax Journal, June 2011. "How Does Charitable Giving Respond to Incentives and Income? New Estimates From Panel Data."

Jon Bakija and Bradley T. Heim, 2008. "How Does Charitable Giving Respond to Incentives and Income? Dynamic Panel Data Accounting for Predictable Changes in Taxation."

Kevin Stanton Barrett, Anya M. McGuirk, and Richard Steinberg, National Tax Journal, June 1997. "Further Evidence on the Dynamic Impact of Taxes on Charitable Giving."

Arthur C. Brooks, 2005. "Income Tax Policy and Charitable Giving," Meetings of the Association for the Study of Religion, Economics, and Culture.

Center on Philanthropy, Indiana University, 2009. "How Changes in Tax Rates Might Affect Itemized Charitable Deductions."

Joseph J. Cordes, National Tax Journal, December 2011. "Re-thinking the Deduction for Charitable Contributions: Evaluating the Effects of Deficit-Reduction Proposals."

Martin Feldstein, National Tax Journal, 1975. "The Income Tax and Charitable Contributions: Part I—Aggregate and Distributional Effects" (March) and "The Income Tax and Charitable Contributions: Part II—The Impact on Religious, Educational and Other Organizations" (June). 

Martin Feldstein and Amy Taylor, Econometrica, November 1976. "The Income Tax and Charitable Contributions."

Dean Karlan and John A. List, 2007. "Does Price Matter in Charitable Giving? Evidence From a Large-Scale Natural Field Experiment."

Richard Steinberg, 1990. "Taxes and Giving: New Findings."

Think Tank/Consultant Studies

Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 2009. "Proposal to Cap Deductions for High-Income Households Would Reduce Charitable Contributions by Only 1.9 Percent."

Center for Naval Analysis, 1999. Christopher M. Duquette, "Is charitable Giving by Nonitemizers Responsive to Tax Incentives? New Evidence," by Christopher M. Duquette. Published in National Tax Journal.

Heritage Foundation, 1996. John Barry, "How a Flat Tax Would Affect Charitable Contributions.

National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, 1990. Charles T. Clotfelter, "The Impact of Tax Reform on Charitable Giving: a 1989 Perspective,

National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, 1988. Daniel Feenberg, "Identification in Tax-Price Regression Models: The Case of Charitable Giving."

National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, 2000. Emmanuel Saez, "The Optimal Treatment of Tax Expenditures."

Price Waterhouse and Caplin & Drysdale, 1997. "Impact of Tax Restructuring on Tax-Exempt Organizations," report for the Council on Foundations and Independent Sector.

Tax Policy Center, 2009. "Would Obama’s Plan to Curb Deductions Hurt Charities?"

Urban Institute, 1999. Joseph Cordes, "The Cost of Giving: How Do Changes in Tax Deductions Affect Charitable Contributions?

Urban Institute, 1999. William C. Randolph, "Charitable Deductions." Chapter in The Encyclopedia of Taxation and Tax Policy, Urban Institute Press.

Government Studies

Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1999. Ralph Bradley, Steven Holden, and Robert McClelland, "A Robust Estimation of the Effects of Taxation on Charitable Contributions.

Congressional Budget Office, 2011. "Options for Changing the Tax Treatment of Charitable Giving."

Congressional Budget Office, 2002. "Effects of Allowing Nonitemizers to Deduct Charitable Contributions."

Congressional Budget Office, 2001. Pamela Greene and Robert McClelland, "Taxes and Charitable Giving." Published in National Tax Journal.

Congressional Budget Office, 1994. Will C. Randolph, "Dynamic Income, Progressive Taxes, and the Timing of Charitable Contributions." Prepared for the Office of Tax Analysis, Department of Treasury.

Congressional Research Service, 2010. Jane G. Gravelle and Donald J. Marples, "Charitable Contributions: The Itemized Deduction Cap and Other FY2011 Budget Options."

Congressional Research Service, 2003. Jane G. Gravelle, "Economic Analysis of the Charitable Contribution Deduction for Non-Itemizers."

International Studies

Canada, 2004. Alexander Gelardi, "Charitable Giving and the Superdeduction: An Investigation of Taxpayer Philanthropic Behavior Following the Move From a Tax Deduction to a Tax Credit System." Chapter in Advances in Taxation, Volume 16, Emerald Group Publishing.

France. American Economic Journal, 2010. Gabrielle Fack and Camille Landais,  "Are Tax Incentives for Charitable Giving Efficient? Evidence From France."

Germany, 2010. Timm Boenke, Nima Massarrat-Mashhadi, and Christian Sielaff, Freie Universitat Berlin. "Charitable Giving and the German Welfare State: Fiscal Incentives Versus Crowding-Out." 

United Kingdom, 2010. Kim Scharf and Sarah Smith, Institute for Fiscal Studies, "The Price Elasticity of Charitable Giving: Does the Form of Tax Relief Matter?"


James Andreoni, 2007. "Charitable Giving," in the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition.

Charles T. Clotfelter, 1985. Federal Tax Policy and Charitable Giving. University of Chicago Press Books.

Jerald Schiff, 1990. Charitable Giving and Government Policy: An Economic Analysis. Greenwood Press.