Perceived Tax Burden and Preferences at the Local Level

Last registered on July 22, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Perceived Tax Burden and Preferences at the Local Level
Initial registration date
July 20, 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
July 22, 2021, 11:07 AM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

Universitat de Barcelona

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
UB School of Economics

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
The aim of this project is to merge data collected by a survey designed by the research team with administrative data. The survey measures perceptions and knowledge of the citizens of l’Ametlla del Vallès, a medium-sized town in Catalonia, in terms of local tax burden, social position and local public expenditures. The administrative records contain their tax contribution to the municipality, which allows us to compare the perceived and actual tax burden.

People generally do not know their tax burden on the local level. As a first step, this project will document the misperception of citizens regarding their own tax payments. We also ask participants about their contribution relative to the other tax payers in the town. We document study the deviation between the perceived position in the local tax contribution scale by the citizens with their real contribution to the local finances.

We than provide treated participants an information treatment about the mean tax payments and costs of different public goods. We study the possible changes on the views towards the municipal services and the willingness to increase or decrease their local contribution when citizens are shown the average tax burden to fund them and their total cost.

Several other socio-economic variables will be measured during the survey or taken from administrative records. Perceived social position, feeling of belonging to the municipality and basic information such as education, employment or household characteristics will be considered.

As a third outcome, we will also analyze the differences in views towards redistribution and empathy of the citizens depending on the proximity of the target group to be benefited.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Foremny, Dirk and Jan Santaló. 2021. "Perceived Tax Burden and Preferences at the Local Level." AEA RCT Registry. July 22.
Experimental Details


The survey contains two treatments:

1) Vignette experiment:
The treatment group is provided information about the annual average contribution for every task and the overall per capita cost of the local public expenditures.
2) Lottery
Participants are randomly assigned to two groups, one which allows donation of the lottery price to a set of local NGOs, and another group which refers to a national NGO.

The attached document describes the intervention in more detail.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
- Bias between true tax payments and perceived tax payments: We expect the information treatment to reduce the bias as participants are able to benchmark their tax payments (questions 3.1 and 3.2, 3.4).
- We expect the information treatment to have a positive impact on the "fair tax payment", asked in question 3.3
- We expect a positive impact on the satisfaction with public services (3.5)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Target. We conduct a survey experiment at the local level to the citizens of l’Ametlla del Vallès. Every villager born from 2005 onwards is welcomed to partake to the survey during the months of July and August of 2021.

Method. The University of Barcelona, with the collaboration of the Treasury Department of the city hall of l’Ametlla del Vallès, designs an online survey implemented through the software application Gorilla.

The citizens are asked to report their fiscal identifier, which will be used afterwards to link their answers with their tax contribution administrative records.

The average time to complete the survey experiment is expected to be 12 minutes.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Survey allocates individuals randomly to treatment 1 and treatment 2
Randomization Unit
individual level
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
no cluster
Sample size: planned number of observations
According to the census, around 6.500 people fulfill the requirements to participate. We aim at a sample of at least 10 % of the population.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
random split of individuals between the groups
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials