Opinions on Tax Deductions and the Consensus Effect in a Survey-Experiment

CentER Discussion Paper No. 2004-23

25 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2004

See all articles by Eline van der Heijden

Eline van der Heijden

Tilburg University, CentER

Jan H. M. Nelissen

CentERdata; Tilburg University, CentER

Johannes (Jan) J. M. Potters

Tilburg University - CentER

Date Written: 2004

Abstract

We present the results of a survey-experiment using a representative sample of the Dutch population in which we relate respondents' opinion about the tax deductibility of mortgages to their estimates about other people's opinion. The experiment employs three treatment variables: monetary incentives, the provision of arguments pro and contra, and ambiguity of the question posed. We find that respondents are characterized by a significant consensus effect. Respondents estimates of others opinions are strongly related to their own opinion. The size of the effect, however, is not affected by ambiguity of the question posed. Information by means of the provision of arguments pro and contra the tax provision does reduce the consensus effect significantly, though. Monetary incentives appear to have only a weak effect. We also find a strong effect of house ownership. Not only are house owners more in favor of the tax provision, they are also characterized by a significantly stronger consensus effect. These results suggest that both cognitive factors and motivational factors are responsible for the consensus effect.

Keywords: Consensus effect, experiment survey, taxation

JEL Classification: A13, C99, H29

Suggested Citation

van der Heijden, Eline and Nelissen, Jan H. M. and Potters, Johannes (Jan) J. M., Opinions on Tax Deductions and the Consensus Effect in a Survey-Experiment (2004). CentER Discussion Paper No. 2004-23. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=557764 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.557764

Eline Van der Heijden (Contact Author)

Tilburg University, CentER ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Department of Economics
5000 LE Tilburg
Netherlands

Jan H. M. Nelissen

CentERdata ( email )

PO Box 90153
Tilburg, NL 5000 LE
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.centerdata.nl

Tilburg University, CentER ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Department of Economics
5000 LE Tilburg
Netherlands
+31 13 466 3259 (Phone)
+31 13 466 3066 (Fax)

Johannes (Jan) J. M. Potters

Tilburg University - CentER ( email )

Department of Economics
P.O. Box 90153
5000 LE Tilburg
Netherlands
+31 13 466 8204 (Phone)
+31 13 466 3042 (Fax)

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