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Essays on the economics of gender identity and behavioural responses to tax policy

Mavrokonstantis, Panos (2018) Essays on the economics of gender identity and behavioural responses to tax policy. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.2cpwjajkndmg


This thesis presents three essays. The first examines the effect of having a breadwinner mother on children’s gender norms in England. It shows that, while boys with breadwinning mothers are less likely to develop traditional views, girls are more likely to become traditional, in opposition to their family’s norm but in line with society’s. It then develops a model of gender identity, showing that the results can be explained by girls’ weaker preference for conformity to their family. Finally, it employs conformity measures to show that this prediction holds empirically, and implements a regression discontinuity design to estimate the effect of living in such norm-minority families on conformity. The second essay studies costs in adjusting taxable income, using tax reforms and data from the Republic of Cyprus. Combining reduced-form evidence with a structural model of labour supply, it estimates these costs at CYP 79 for salary earners, and CYP 5 for the self-employed (the equivalent of 135 and 8.5 Euros respectively). It then examines the mechanisms driving the observed responses, and proposes a method that estimates asymmetries in adjustment costs to infer the underlying source of frictions. Using the same data, the third chapter examines the importance of tax policy design for tax enforcement and behavioural responses in charitable contributions. It shows three sets of results. First, exploiting salary-dependent thresholds for third-party reporting of charitable contributions, it estimates that reported donations increase by about 0.7 pounds when taxpayers can claim 1 pound more without providing documentation. Second, it finds that at least 40 percent of these observed responses are purely due to changes in reporting, using a reform that retroactively shifted the reporting threshold. Last, it estimates a tax price elasticity of reported charitable donations at -0.5, and shows that this policy parameter is highly sensitive to the reporting environment.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2018 Panos Mavrokonstantis
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Sets: Departments > Economics
Supervisor: Spinnewijn, Johannes and Cowell, Frank

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