The Psychology of Taxing Capital Income: Evidence from a Survey Experiment on the Realization Rule

Last registered on January 27, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
The Psychology of Taxing Capital Income: Evidence from a Survey Experiment on the Realization Rule
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0007069
Initial registration date
January 27, 2021

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
January 27, 2021, 5:12 PM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Yale University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Michigan

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-01-28
End date
2022-02-08
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The realization rule is central to income tax law, but often decreases the efficiency, equity, and simplicity of the system. Given these problems, it is surprising that we do not have a good explanation for why the rule exists for liquid assets. Scholars have long speculated about the role of the public’s views here, but little is known empirically about them. We conduct the first survey experiment to understand the psychology of taxing gains on unsold assets.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Fox, Edward and Zachary Liscow. 2021. "The Psychology of Taxing Capital Income: Evidence from a Survey Experiment on the Realization Rule." AEA RCT Registry. January 27. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7069
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2021-01-28
Intervention End Date
2021-02-12

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Support for taxing gains when they occur, rather than upon sale, including various permutations and various assets.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
There are eight treatment arms, as well as randomized orderings and question inclusions within the arms. Each arm has a different information treatment at the beginning.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Qualtrics randomizes the treatment.
Randomization Unit
Individual.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
5000 individuals online plus roughly 100 individuals in-class
Sample size: planned number of observations
5000 individuals online plus roughly 100 individuals in-class
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1000 control, 1000 both-sides treatment, 500 pro tax policy treatment, 500 anti tax policy treatment, 500 anti-status quo treatment, 500 mental accounting treatment, 500 responding to objections treatment, roughly 100 in-class students
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Yale IRB
IRB Approval Date
2020-09-01
IRB Approval Number
N/A

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials