About Me

Bio

Naomi Feldman is an Associate Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Professor Feldman is a public finance economist who studies how individuals and firms react to changes in tax policy. In particular, she is interested in how the complexity of the tax code impacts these behavioral responses. Before joining the Hebrew University, she was employed at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, DC and spent a year at the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) in the Executive Office of the President as a Senior Economist in Tax Policy, in addition to adjunct teaching at the University of Maryland. Professor Feldman holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her pre-doctoral studies were at University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana where she earned a B.S. in economics and French literature.

Education

Education

Experience

Employment History

Economist 2011-2018

Senior Economist (2011-2017), Principal Economist (2017-2018)

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Senior Economist 2017-2018

Council of Economic Advisers (CEA)

Executive Office of the President

Research

Working Papers

Abstract: Using data from U.S. corporate tax returns, which provide a sample representative of the universe of U.S. corporations, we investigate the differential investment propensities of public and private firms. Re-weighting the data to generate observationally comparable sets of public and private firms, we find robust evidence that public firms invest more overall, particularly in R&D. Exploiting within-firm variation in public status, we find that firms dedicate more of their investment to R&D following IPO, and reduce these investments upon going private. Our findings suggest that public stock markets facilitate greater investment, on average, particularly in risky, uncollateralized investments.

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Abstract: We examine the impact on air travelers of an enforcement action issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation in January 2012 that required U.S. air carriers and online travel agents to incorporate all mandatory taxes and fees into their advertised fares. Exploiting cross-itinerary ticket tax variation within international city market pairs, we provide evidence that the more prominent display of tax-inclusive prices is associated with a significant reduction in tax incidence on consumers and a decline in passenger volume along more heavily-taxed itineraries. Ticket revenues are commensurately reduced. These results suggest a pronounced degree of inattention to ticket taxes prior to the introduction of full-fare advertising and reinforces the theoretical predictions and experimental findings of the literature on tax salience in a quasi-experimental context where taxes average more than $100 per ticket and where firms may engage in price-setting behavior.

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Abstract: Using a sample of professional baseball players from 1871–2007, this paper aims at analyzing a longstanding empirical observation that married men earn significantly more than their single counterparts holding all else equal (the "marriage premium"). Baseball is a unique case study because it has a long history of statistics collection and numerous direct measurements of productivity. Our results show that the marriage premium also holds for baseball players, where married players earn up to 16 percent more than those who are not married, even after controlling for selection. The results hold only for players in the top third of the ability distribution and post 1975 when changes in the rules that govern wage contracts allowed for players to be valued closer to their true market price. Nonetheless, there do not appear to be clear differences in productivity between married and nonmarried players. We discuss possible reasons why employers may discriminate in favor of married men.

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Publications

Abstract: Recent evidence suggests consumers fail to account for taxes that are excluded from a good's displayed price. What is less understood is whether and how such "salience effects" depend on the magnitude of the tax. We conduct a laboratory shopping experiment with real stakes to study the effect of tax size on salience. We find no evidence that salience effects decline as the tax rate increases; we document a statistically significant salience effect at a tax rate that is considerably larger than the tax rates at which such effects have been previously documented. In fact, our results are more consistent with the hypothesis that higher taxes make consumers less attentive (at least for the range of taxes we consider). This result can be explained by a confirmation bias theory of salience: consumers tend to disregard information (like a tax) that does not align with their intention to purchase an item, and this lack of alignment increases in the size of the tax.

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Abstract: We develop an empirical test for whether households understand or misperceive their tax liability changes. Our identifying variation comes from the loss of the Child Tax Credit when a child turns 17. Using this age discontinuity, we find that despite this tax liability increase being lump-sum and predictable, households reduce their reported labor income when they discover they have lost the credit. This finding suggests that households misinterpret at least part of this tax liability change as an increase in their marginal tax rate. This evidence supports that tax complexity can cause significant confusion and leads to unintended behavioral responses.

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Abstract: This paper analyzes the effects of technological change on skill acquisition during the British Industrial Revolution. Based on a unique set of data on apprenticeships between 1710 and 1772, we show that both the number of apprentices and their share in the cohort of the fifteen year-olds increased in response to inventions. The strongest response was in the highly skilled mechanical trades. These results suggest that technological change in this period was skill biased due to the expansion of the machinery sector they induced.

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Abstract: We test the equivalence of tax-inclusive, tax-exclusive and tax-rebate prices through a series of experiments differing only in their handling of the tax. Subjects receive a cash budget and decide how much to keep and how much to spend on various attractively priced goods. Subjects spend significantly more under tax-exclusive prices whereas total purchases under tax-inclusive and tax-rebate prices are similar. These results persist throughout most of the ten rounds despite feedback and the ability to revise purchases. The asymmetric response to tax liabilities and rebates highlights consumers' ability both to internalize and to willfully ignore hidden price components.

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Abstract: We provide empirical evidence of crime’s impact on the mental well-being of both victims and nonvictims. We differentiate between the direct impact to victims and the indirect impact to society due to the fear of crime. The results show a decrease in mental well-being after violent crime victimization and that the violent crime rate has a negative impact on mental well-being of nonvictims. Property crime victimization and property crime rates show no such comparable impact. Finally, we estimate that society-wide impact of increasing the crime rate by one victim is about 80 times more than the direct impact on the victim.

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Abstract: This paper analyzes a 1992 decrease in U.S. federal income tax withholding that shifted the timing of income tax payments while leaving ultimate tax burdens unchanged. Consequently income typically received as a lump-sum refund on filing a tax return was shifted into the previous year's monthly income. This paper considers the impact of the withholding change in the context of mental accounting and finds a decrease in the probability that households contributed to a tax-preferred retirement account. Additional robustness tests show that short-term saving did not simultaneously increase and that the main findings are not driven by liquidity constraints.

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Abstract: This paper analyzes the impact of a preferential tax-price for monetary donations on the joint decision to donate time (volunteer) and money. The methodological approach takes into account that consumption of each charitable good affects consumption of the other. Using data from a national survey on household charitable giving, the results show that donations of time and money are substitutes. However, a decrease in the tax-price of monetary donations also has a positive effect on donations of time that acts outside the change in relative prices. This more than offsets the substitution effect leading to an overall positive correlation between the two charitable goods.

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Abstract: This article estimates the degree of tax noncompliance using evidence from unaudited tax returns. Measurements of noncompliance are derived from the relationship between reported charitable contributions and reported income from wages and salary as compared to alternative reported income sources such as self‐employment, farm and other small business income. Assuming that the source of one's income is unrelated to one's charitable inclinations and that the ratio of true income to taxable income does not vary by income source, any difference in the relationship between charitable contributions and the source of income can be attributed to (relative) underreporting by the individual. We find that the implied amount of noncompliance is significant and that it varies by source of income, as well as between positive and negative values of each type of income.

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Abstract: Computerized physician order entry (CPOE) has been shown to reduce preventable, potential adverse events. Despite this evidence, fewer than 5 percent of U.S. hospitals have fully implemented these systems. We assess empirically alternative reasons for low CPOE implementation using data from various sources. We find that CPOE is related to hospital ownership and teaching status; government and teaching hospitals are much more likely than other hospital types are to invest in CPOE. Hospital profitability is not associated with CPOE investment. Although greater diffusion of CPOE is needed, it might have to await continuing publicity efforts and substantial reimbursement system changes.

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