The Effect of Church Tax on Church Membership
affiliation not provided to SSRN
December 30, 2010
Government Institute for Economic Research Working Papers No. 20
In this study we examine the effect of church tax on the church membership decision using Finnish data. We present both descriptive statistics from an opting-out website and econometric evidence exploiting the panel structure of a large individual-level data set. Our descriptive analysis shows that opting-out is concentrated towards the last days of the year, i.e., the last chance to avoid paying church tax for the entire coming year. Our econometric evidence suggests however, that the average effect of tax incentives in the whole population is very small in magnitude, while being statistically significant. The price elasticity of church membership is roughly -0.01. In addition, we find that church membership dropped substantially when a law change made opting-out significantly easier. This finding suggests that transaction costs play an important role in the membership decision.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: church tax, church membership, transaction cost
JEL Classification: H24, H31, Z12working papers series
Date posted: September 14, 2011
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