Promoting land use revenue instruments by nudging tax authorities: evidence from an RCT in Colombia
Last registered on July 26, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Promoting land use revenue instruments by nudging tax authorities: evidence from an RCT in Colombia
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004441
Initial registration date
July 24, 2019
Last updated
July 26, 2019 4:39 PM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Universidad del Rosario
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
National Planing Department, Colombia
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2019-07-15
End date
2025-12-31
Secondary IDs
DNP-606-2018
Abstract
We will implement a randomized controlled trial across all municipalities in Colombia to test whether different types of nudges received by the municipal tax authorities can incentivize the employment of land use revenue instruments at the local level. The country's over 1,100 municipalities were randomly divided into four groups after stratifying in terms of a number of variables associated with the municipal performance associated with the implementation of land use revenue instruments. Three such groups will receive different nudges in the form of an official letter sent by the National Planning Department (NPD) and addressed to the municipal mayor. The fourth is the control group and will receive no letter. The nudge of the first treatment group consist in comparing the recent performance of the municipality in terms of revenues associated with land use instruments with that of the department average. The nudge of the second treatment group appeals to the pro-sociality of tax authorities by highlighting how additional revenues can be used to improve the well-being of the most disadvantaged groups of the municipality. The nudge of the third treatment group emphasizes that future performance in terms of the implementation of land use revenue instruments will be monitored and made public by NPD. The same treatment will be sent to the outgoing and as well as the coming municipal administration, in July 2019 and January 2020 respectively. We will measure both medium-term outcomes related to the efforts made in implementing land use revenue instruments and long-term outcomes in terms of actual fiscal performance. The former requires an on-line survey which municipal tax authorities should respond. The latter will be done using administrative data on tax revenues.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Nanclares, Elixon and Juan Vargas. 2019. "Promoting land use revenue instruments by nudging tax authorities: evidence from an RCT in Colombia." AEA RCT Registry. July 26. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4441-1.0.
Former Citation
Nanclares, Elixon, Juan Vargas and Juan Vargas. 2019. "Promoting land use revenue instruments by nudging tax authorities: evidence from an RCT in Colombia." AEA RCT Registry. July 26. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/4441/history/50748.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The goal of the intervention is to promote the implementation of land use tax revenue instruments (LUTRI) at the local level in Colombia through different types of nudges, sent from the central government to the tax authorities of each one of the country's 1,102 municipalities.
Each municipality was randomly assigned to either one of three treatment groups or a control group. Randomization took into account the municipal heterogeneity in terms of variables associated with the outcome of interest.
The first treatment group will receive a letter comparing its recent performance in terms of the tax revenue associated with LUTRI to that of the average of the municipalities of the same department (equivalent to states in the US).
The second treatment group will receive a letter highlighting how the additional revenues can be used to the development of the municipality and especially to enhancing the well being of vulnerable communities in the municipality.
The third one will receive a letter emphasizing how the future performance regarding the implementation of land use tax revenue instruments will be periodically monitored by the central government and the findings made public on-line.
The control group will receive no letter.
Intervention Start Date
2019-07-15
Intervention End Date
2020-02-29
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Tax revenues per capita associated with land use tax revenue instruments, growth rate of these variables with respect to previous year and with respect to years prior to the intervention
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
All end-point outcomes come from administrative records. Including the municipal population counts used to normalize the variables.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Knowledge about the different land use tax revenue instruments; information about which of those are currently being used by the municipality, information about the intention to implement new instruments and about the specific actions undertaken to that end.
Also tax revenues from other sources as well as an indie of fiscal performance.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
These outcomes do not come from administrative records but rather will be obtained by applying an on-line survey that municipal authorities should respond at the beginning of the second half of 2020.
The tax revenues associated to other sources (different to land use) and the index of fiscal performance will be used to measure potential spillovers of the intervention.
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Stratified random assignment of the 1,102 Colombian municipalities to one of three treatments or a control group.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in an office by a computer based on the procedure described above.
Randomization Unit
Municipalities
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
1,102 municipalities
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,102 municipalities
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Treatment 1: 275 municipalities
Treatment 2: 276 municipalities
Treatment 3: 276 municipalities
Control: 275 municipalities
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
0.24 standard deviations
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number