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Reforming the tax system for the 21st century.
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Type: IFS Working Papers
Standard economic theory implies that the labelling of cash transfers or cash-equivalents (e.g. child benefits, food stamps) should have no effect on spending patterns. The empirical literature to date does not contradict this proposition. We study the UK Winter Fuel Payment (WFP), a cash transfer to older households. Exploiting sharp eligibility criteria in a regression discontinuity design, we find robust evidence of a behavioural effect of the labelling. On average households spend 41% of the WFP on fuel. If the payment was treated as cash, we would expect households to spend approximately 3% of the payment on fuel.
View all IFS Working Papers in the series
Recent IFS Working Papers
Estimating the effect of teacher pay on pupil attainment using boundary discontinuities
This paper provides causal estimates of the effect of teacher pay on pupil attainment using a sharp geographical discontinuity in teacher salaries.
Nutrition, information, and household behaviour: experimental evidence from Malawi
This paper studies the effects of a randomised intervention in rural Malawi which, over a six-month period, provided mothers of young infants with information on child nutrition without supplying any monetary or in-kind resources.
Labor income dynamics and the insurance from taxes, transfers and the family
What do labor income dynamics look like over the life-cycle? What is the relative importance of persistent shocks, transitory shocks and heterogeneous profiles? To what extent do taxes, transfers and the family attenuate these various factors in the evolution of life-cycle inequality? In this paper, we use rich Norwegian data to answer these important questions.
How to keep warm in winter: what are the effects of benefits designed to protect elderly households from the coldest winters?
IFS researchers have investigated the relative merits of government policies designed to protect elderly households from the coldest winters.