Public Finance in the Era of the COVID-19 Crisis
18-20 August 2021 | Online, Organized by University of Iceland, Reykjavík
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Some information on the session logistics:The last speaker of each session is the session chair. The discussant is always the following speaker, with the first speaker being the discussant of the last paper. Each paper has a 22-minutes-block in all sessions. There should be 15 minutes and no more than 18 minutes for the presenter. The discussion is then started by the discussant. Please note that the role of the discussant is different compared to previous years: The discussant has only 1-2 minutes and s/he is not allowed to give a lengthy summary of the paper together with comprehensive comments. Instead, her/his task is to raise one single question/comment and, in doing so, start the general discussion! All participants are asked to be strict in timing to allow people to change sessions during the general discussion. For a (rare) session with less papers in the session than the time slot allows, stick to the congress schedule and use 22 minutes per presentation to allow listeners to smoothly change between sessions. Only registered participants can attend this online conference. Further information available on the congress website https://iipf2021.hi.is/ .
Please note that all times are shown in the time zone of the conference. The current conference time is: 2nd Dec 2021, 12:26:56pm GMT
G04: Behavioral Public Finance and Public Goods
4:00pm - 4:22pm
December Fever in Public Finance
ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Public spending often increases at the end of fiscal years. This is a dynamic inefficiency. The causes for year-end spending spikes are poorly understood. Our novel identification strategy relies on the historic variation in countries’ fiscal years. We show that the end of fiscal years rather than alternative explanations cause spending spikes at the end of fiscal years. Our accounting data includes discretionary daily contributions of 27 OECD countries to the World Bank from 2002-2013. As suggested by principal-agent theory, we find that high administrative quality reduces the end of year effect and analyze pertinent budget institutions as possible mechanisms.
4:22pm - 4:45pm
The Welfare Economics of Reference Dependence
1University of Mannheim, Germany; 2London School of Economics, United Kingdom
Empirical evidence suggests that in many contexts, individuals evaluate options relative to a reference point, placing disproportionate weight on losses. In this paper, we analyze welfare under reference dependence. We explicitly model the central normative ambiguity over whether the influence of the reference point on choices reflects a bias or a normative preference, and we describe how judgments regarding this ambiguity affect welfare calculations. We find that policies that decrease the reference point generally improve welfare. In contrast, the welfare effect of price or tax changes in the presence of reference dependence depends strongly on normative judgments. We illustrate our findings with an empirical application to reference dependence exhibited in retirement decisions of German workers. Simulation results lend some support to increasing the Normal Retirement Age rather than using financial incentives in order to induce workers to postpone retirement.
4:45pm - 5:07pm
Paternalism Attitudes And The Happiness Value Of Fundamental Freedoms
Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance, Germany
The Governmental Paternalism Index is a new empirical index that measures individuals' attitudes towards governmental regulation and prescriptions that aim at preventing potentially self-harming behavior. Our results indicate considerable heterogeneity in how individuals support, or object to, such governmental prescriptions. We design and use this new index in a survey on life satisfaction during the covid-19 pandemic to assess how restrictions of personal freedom affect life satisfaction, and how the attitudes towards governmental paternalism affect this relationship. Our results indicate that losses in life satisfaction in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic are mainly attributed to restrictions in personal freedom and to a negative outlook on societal change, and that individuals' value in the Governmental Paternalism Index is a major determinant of the size of this effect.
5:07pm - 5:30pm
Navigating The Notches: Charity Responses To Ratings
University of Michigan, United States of America
This paper studies the effects of the star ratings system used by Charity Navigator. Using IRS Form 990 data from 2002 to 2019, I find an exogenous one-star increase in a charity's rating from 3 to 4 stars raises contributions by 6%, with even larger effects among smaller charities. Charities respond to these incentives by reporting less spending on administration and fundraising. Bunching analysis shows that some of the response is merely a misreporting of expenses in order to achieve a higher star rating. This suggests that a continuous measure of charity quality would be less distortionary and better inform potential donors about the charity's activities.
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