What motivates political and charitable donations? We plan to study this question by means of a survey experiment, exploiting the fact that in France both political and charitable donations benefit from income tax deductions, and we are in the midst of an electoral campaign.
In France, charitable and political giving can indeed benefit from a nonrefundable income tax credit equal to 66% of the gift (the gift can be deducted from the income tax up to a ceiling currently equal to 20% of taxable income). However, given the income tax credit is nonrefundable, this benefit does not apply to the households that do not pay personal income tax, which is more than 50% of the French population at the lower end of the income distribution. We plan to make use of this policy to study the determinants of political and charitable donations, especially the price of a donation, the salience and the understanding of the tax rebate policy, and the framing of matching.
To do so, we will run a randomized survey experiment. First, we will collect information on the socio-economic characteristics of the surveyed individuals, including information on their taxable income (to determine whether they are eligible to the nonrefundable income tax credit). We will then investigate:
- whether they are used to make political and/or charitable donations (by asking them whether they have done so during the past 12 months, and if so, the identity of the beneficiary and the amount of the donation),
- whether they are aware of the existence of the income tax credit mechanism, and
- whether they have already benefited from it (if eligible).
The experiment will take place before the 2022 legislative elections in France, a time at which the issue of political donations is particularly salient. It takes place as part of the CEVIPOF panel survey by IPSOS, to which we add our experiment. Baseline cha
For the survey experiment, we will first split the individuals into two different groups of similar size: one where we will investigate their willingness to give to political parties and/or campaigns ("political donations") and one where we will investigate their willingness to give to charitable organizations ("charitable donations").
We will first inform the participants of the existence of the nonrefundable income tax credit mechanism, and explain them how it works.
We will then split each of the two groups into 4 groups of same size : (i) the control group, (ii) treatment 1, (iii) treatment 2, and (iv) treatment 3. We will compare the willingness of surveyed individuals to donate
- Under the current policy (control group);
- If instead of a nonrefundable income tax credit, the tax policy was changed to an instantaneous tax rebate (treatment 1);
- If instead of a nonrefundable income tax credit, the policy was changed to a matching grant (in the spirit of the British "Gift Aid" system) (treatment 2);
- If instead of a nonrefundable income tax credit, the tax policy was revoked.