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Tax reforms and Google searches: the case of Spanish VAT reforms during the great recession



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Artés, Joaquín and Botello Mainieri, Ana Melissa and Sánchez Fuentes, Antonio Jesús (2019) Tax reforms and Google searches: the case of Spanish VAT reforms during the great recession. SERIEs, 10 (3-4). pp. 321-336. ISSN 1869-4187

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s13209-019-00204-1


We propose a method to capture the efect of tax reforms on consumer’s readiness to buy using Google searches as a proxy. We use the Spanish 2010 and 2012 VAT reforms as a case of study. We use a regression discontinuity design taking advantage of the fact that the Spanish 2010 and 2012 VAT reforms had a sharp implementation date, which implies that from one day to another the tax rate for most goods was diferent, while other factors likely to infuence consumer behaviour were similar on the days around the cut-of. We fnd a signifcant causal efect of the implementation of the reform on Google searches of durable goods, while we do not fnd any efect for non-durable goods. These results are in line with previous theoretical and empirical evidence according to which tax reforms cause consumers to modify more their readiness to buy durable goods. We also explore the efect of the reforms on readiness to buy specifc goods such as movie tickets by taking advantage of a control group formed by similar leisure items that were unafected by the 2012 reform.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Private consumption; Value-added tax; Indirect taxation; Unconventional fscal policy; Google Trends; Big data
Subjects:Social sciences > Economics > Depressions
Social sciences > Economics > Public finance
JEL:H3, H43, D04
ID Code:61419
Deposited On:09 Jul 2020 08:21
Last Modified:26 Aug 2020 05:58

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