772 research outputs found

    Social Experimentation

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    Public Finance: Essay for the Encyclopedia of Public Choice

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    Public Finance is the branch of economics that studies the taxing and spending activities of government. The term is something of a misnomer, because the fundamental issues are not financial (that is, relating to money). Rather, the key problems relate to the use of real resources. For this reason, some practitioners prefer the label public sector economics or simply public economics. Public finance encompasses both positive and normative analysis. Positive analysis deals with issues of cause and effect, for example, β€œIf the government cuts the tax rate on gasoline, what will be the effect on gasoline consumption?” Normative analysis deals with ethical issues, for example, β€œIs it fairer to tax income or consumption?” Modern public finance focuses on the microeconomic functions of government, how the government does and should affect the allocation of resources and the distribution of income. For the most part, the macroeconomic functions of government--the use of taxing, spending, and monetary policies to affect the overall level of unemployment and the price level--are covered in other fields.

    The Marriage Tax is Down But Not Out

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    The public debate surrounding the Tax Reform Act of 1986 has paid little attention to the tax consequences of being married. Specifically, there has been virtually no discussion of the possible existence of an implicit "marriage tax"--the increase in the joint income tax liability of a man and woman when they marry. This lack of concern appears to be due to the perception that the new law has lowered marginal tax rates to such an extent that the magnitudes of marriage taxes (and subsidies) are inconsequential. In this paper, I show that to the contrary, the new law created large taxes on being married for some couples, and large subsidies for others. On the basis of a tax simulation model, I estimate that in 1988, 40 percent of all couples will pay an annual average marriage tax of about 1100,and53percentwillreceiveanaveragesubsidyofabout1100, and 53 percent will receive an average subsidy of about 600. One striking result that emerges from the analysis is the relatively large marriage tax that will be borne by some low income couples with children. For such couples, the marriage tax can amount to 10 percent of joint gross income. Hence, the new tax law appears to quite "anti-family" for some low income workers.

    Housing Behavior and the Experimental Housing Allowance Program: What Have We Learned?

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    The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the Experimental Housing Allowance Program (EHAP). My focus is on what the experimental data have taught us that could not have been learned from more traditional sources of information. I review the major problems that confronted investigators using non-experimental data, and for each problem discuss whether or not it was mitigated by the availability of EHAP data .I conclude that if the goal was to obtain improved estimates of the behavioral response to housing allowances, a social experiment was not necessary.

    Family Bonding with Universities

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    One justification offered for legacy admissions policies at universities is that that they bind entire families to the university. Proponents maintain that these policies have a number of benefits, including increased donations from members of these families. We use a rich set of data from an anonymous selective research institution to investigate which types of family members have the most important effect upon donative behavior. We find that the effects of attendance by members of the younger generation (children, children-in-law, nieces and nephews) are greater than the effects of attendance by older generations (parents, parents-in-law, aunts and uncles). Previous research has indicated that, in a variety of contexts, men and women differ in their altruistic behavior. However, we find that there are no statistically discernible differences between men and women in the way their donations depends on the alumni status of various types of relatives. Neither does the gender of the various types of relatives who attended the uni-versity seem to matter. Thus, for example, the impact of having a son attend the university is no different from the effect of a daughter.college legacy administion

    The Impact of Athletic Performance on Alumni Giving: An Analysis of Micro Data

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    An ongoing controversy in the literature on the economics of higher education centers on whether the success of a school’s athletic program affects alumni donations. This paper uses a unique data set to investigate this issue. The data contain detailed information about donations made by alumni of a selective research university as well as a variety of their economic and de-mographic characteristics. One important question is how to characterize the success of an athlet-ic program. We focus not only on the performance of the most visible teams, football and bas-ketball, but also on the success of the team on which he or she played as an undergraduate. One of our key findings is that the impact of athletic success on donations differs for men and women. When a male graduate’s former team wins its conference championship, his dona-tions for general purposes increase by about 7 percent and his donations to the athletic program increase by about the same percentage. Football and basketball records generally have small and statistically insignificant effects; in some specifications, a winning basketball season reduces do-nations. For women there is no statistically discernible effect of a former team’s success on cur-rent giving; as is the case for men, the impacts of football and basketball, while statistically sig-nificant in some specifications, are not important in magnitude. Another novel result is that for males, varsity athletes whose teams were successful when they were undergraduates subsequent-ly make larger donations to the athletic program. For example, if a male alumnus’s team won its conference championship during his senior year, his subsequent giving to the athletic program is about 8 percent a year higher, ceteris paribus.

    Agency, Delayed Compensation, and the Structure of Executive Remuneration

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    In this paper we examine the factors affecting the structure of executives' compensation packages. We focus particularly on the role of various types of delayed compensation as means of "bonding" executives to their firms. The basic problem is to design a compensation package that rewards actions that are in the long-run interest of the stockholders. Firms must take into account (1) their ability to discern unfortunate circumstances from mismanagement; (2) the extent to which a compensation package forces the executive to face risks, beyond his control; and (3) the willingness of a given executive to bear this risk. We use our theory to interpret some executive compensation data from the early 1970's. The results are generally in line with the theoretical predictions.

    Self-Employment, Family Background, and Race

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    We focus on the intergenerational transmission of the propensity to be self-employed. Our emphasis is on the role of family background, and in particular, on what we call the intergenerational pick-up rate with respect to self-employment, the probability that a person with a self-employed parent will become self-employed him or herself. We use the General Social Survey, a data source with rich information on individuals' family histories, to investigate how family background affects self-employment probabilities and to document how racial and ethnic groups differ with respect to the intergenerational pick-up rate. We confirm earlier findings that father's self-employment status is an important determinant of offspring's self-employment outcomes. New results include: 1) The impact of paternal self-employment differs by race. 2) Even independent of father's occupation, family structure plays a role. 3) Blacks have lower self-employment rates than whites in part because they have different family structures; still, within each family type, blacks have lower self-employment rates. 4) Extrapolating current patterns into the future, there is no indication that black and white self-employment rates will converge any time soon. 5) The relatively high self-employment rates of immigrants carry into the next generation, but not beyond that. 6) Male immigrants who have self-employed fathers re no more likely to be self-employed than other immigrants.
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