Alejandro Zentner

Naveen Jindal School of Management
University of Texas at Dallas
800 W Campbell Rd.
Richardson, TX 75080

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of Texas at Dallas

NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2020My Taxes are Too Darn High: Tax Protests as Revealed Preferences for Redistribution
with Brad C. Nathan, Ricardo Perez-Truglia: w27816
In all U.S. states, individuals can file a protest with the goal of legally reducing their property taxes. This choice provides a unique opportunity to study preferences for redistribution via revealed preference. We study the motives driving tax protests through two sources of causal identification: a quasi-experiment and a pre-registered large-scale natural field experiment. We show that, consistent with selfish motives, households are highly elastic to their private benefits and private costs from protesting. We also find that social preferences are a significant motive: consistent with conditional cooperation, households are willing to pay higher tax rates if they perceive that others pay high tax rates too. Lastly, we document significant differences between the motivations of Democra...
August 2020The $100 Million Nudge: Increasing Tax Compliance of Businesses and the Self-Employed using a Natural Field Experiment
with Justin E. Holz, John A. List, Marvin Cardoza, Joaquin Zentner: w27666
This paper uses a natural field experiment to examine the effectiveness of specific nudges on tax compliance amongst firms and the self-employed in the Dominican Republic. In collaboration with the Dominican Republic’s tax authority, we designed messages for more than 28,000 self-employed workers and over 56,000 firms. Leveraging administrative tax data, we find evidence that our nudges (increasing the salience of prison sentences or public disclosure of tax evaders) have large effects on increasing tax compliance, primarily working through the channel of decreasing claimed tax exemptions. Interestingly, we find that firms are more impacted than the self-employed, and that firm size is critically linked to nudge effectiveness: larger firms are considerably more influenced by nudges than sm...
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