Research.

Working papers

How Much Does Your Boss Make?

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Bosses get paid a lot more than their employees. Are employees aware of this inequality? Do they find it demotivating? We provide evidence from a field experiment with 2,060 employees from a large financial corporation.

Cullen, Z. and Perez-Truglia, R. (2018). How Much Does Your Boss Make? The Effects of Salary Comparisons. NBER Working Paper No. 24841. [Revise & Resubmit, Journal of Political Economy]

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The Old Boys' Club

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Employees take coffee breaks with their bosses, go to lunch, and talk about family and hobbies. Do these social interactions with the bosses give employees a leg up in promotions? Could this phenomenon contribute to the gender pay gap? We provide quasi-experimental evidence from a large financial corporation.

Cullen, Z. and Perez-Truglia, R. (2019). The Old Boys' Club: Schmoozing and the Gender Gap. NBER Working Paper No. 26530.

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The Salary Taboo

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Do you know how much your coworkers earn? Would you like to know? Are you afraid to ask? We study how employees seek and share salary information using a field experiment with employees from a large corporation.

Cullen, Z. and Perez-Truglia, R. (2018). The Salary Taboo: Privacy Norms and the Diffusion of Information. NBER Working Paper No. 25145.

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Betting on the House

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Home price expectations play a central role in macroeconomics and finance. However, there is little direct evidence on how these expectations affect market choices. We provide unique evidence from a large-scale field experiment involving 57,910 homeowners in the United States.

Bottan, N. and Perez-Truglia, R. (2020). Betting on the House: Subjective Expectations and Market Choices. NBER Working Paper No. 27412.

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My Taxes Are Too Darn High

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Households can file a protest with the goal of legally reducing their property taxes. Why do households choose to protest? Are they just trying to save money? Or do they care about fairness? We provide causal evidence using a field experiment and a quasi-experiment.

Nathan, B.; Perez-Truglia, R. and Zentner, A. (2020). My Taxes are Too Darn High: Why Do Households Protest their Taxes? NBER Working Paper No. 27816.

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Tax Audits as Scarecrows

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Why do individuals and firm pay taxes? Are they scared of tax audits? Is that fear rational? We provide evidence from a large-scale field experiment with 20,440 small- and medium-sized firms that collectively paid more than 200 million dollars in taxes per year.

Bergolo, M.; Ceni, R.; Cruces, G.; Giaccobasso, M. and Perez-Truglia, R. (2017). Tax Audits as Scarecrows: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment. NBER Working Paper No. 23631. [Revise & Resubmit, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy]

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Your Place in the World

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Some of today’s most heated policy debates about Brexit, trade wars, climate change abatement, and migration involve redistribution of resources between countries. Do individuals in rich countries know how rich they are by global standards? Does that affect their policy preferences? We provide experimental evidence from Germany.

Fehr, D.; Mollerstrom, J. and Perez-Truglia, R. (2019). Your Place in the World: The Demand for National and Global Redistribution. NBER Working Paper No. 26555. [Revise & Resubmit, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy]

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What Makes a Tax Evader?

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Why do some individuals, but not others, choose to cheat on their taxes? Is it because they are more dishonest? Are they more selfish? We provide evidence using a unique combination of survey data and administrative records.

Bergolo, M.; Leites, M.; Perez-Truglia, R. and Strehl, M. (2020). What Makes a Tax Evader? NBER Working Paper No. 28235.

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Macroeconomic Expectations and Credit Card Spending

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Do macroeconomic expectations affect consumer decisions? Do individuals buy more durable goods when they expect higher inflation? Do they buy more tradable goods when they expect a devaluation? We provide evidence from a field experiment with 2,872 credit card customers.

Galashin, M.; Kanz, M. and Perez-Truglia, R. (2020). Macroeconomic Expectations and Credit Card Spending. NBER Working Paper No. 28281.

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Are Political and Charitable Giving Substitutes?

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Are political contributions and charitable contributions substitutes? We provide evidence from a laboratory experiment and two natural experiments.

Yildirim, P.; Simonov, A.; Petrova, M. and Perez-Truglia, R. (2020). Are Political and Charitable Giving Substitutes? Evidence from the United States. NBER Working Paper No. 26616. [Revise & Resubmit, Management Science]

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Selected Publications

The Effects of Income Transparency on Well-Being

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In 2001, Norwegian tax records became easily accessible online, allowing everyone in the country to observe the incomes of everyone else. Did Norwegians snoop on the incomes of relatives and friends? Did that make them happy or unhappy? We present evidence based on survey data.

Perez-Truglia, R. (2020). The Effects of Income Transparency on Well-Being: Evidence from a Natural Experiment. American Economic Review, Vol. 110 (4), pp. 1019-54.

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Choosing Your Pond

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Do individuals care about the earnings of their neighbors? Do they prefer to be a big fish in a small pond? We provide revealed-preference evidence from a field experiment with 1,080 senior medical students participating in the National Resident Matching Program.

Bottan, N. and Perez-Truglia, R. (2020). Choosing Your Pond: Location Choices and Relative Income. Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming.

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Expectations with Endogenous Information Acquisition

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We use a survey experiment to study how people select, acquire and process information. Strikingly, making information cheaper does not decrease the dispersion of expectations. We provide a model of information acquisition and processing that explains why.

Fuster, A.; Perez-Truglia, R.; Wiederholt, M. and Zafar, B. (2020). Expectations with Endogenous Information Acquisition: An Experimental Investigation. Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming.

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Shaming Tax Delinquents

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Governments rely on shaming penalties to achieve policy goals, such as shaming tax delinquents. There is, however, little evidence on the effects of these policies. We provide evidence from a field experiment with 34,334 tax delinquents who owed a total of half a billion dollars in three U.S. states.

Perez-Truglia, R. and Troiano, U. (2018). Shaming Tax Delinquents. Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 167, pp. 120-137.

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Political Conformity

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We provide causal evidence that individuals are more politically active in more like-minded social environments. We combine administrative data from the Federal Election Commission and the U.S. Postal Service and conduct an event-study analysis of the geographic mobility of 45,000 campaign contributors.

Perez-Truglia, R. (2018). Political Conformity: Event-Study Evidence from the United States. Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 100 (1), pp. 14-28.

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Sympathy for the Diligent

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Using survey experiments, we show that individuals are more generous towards poor people whom they perceive to be diligent workers. And we show, theoretically and empirically, that the sympathy for the diligent generates a demand for workfare programs.

Drenik, A, and Perez-Truglia, R. (2018). Sympathy for the Diligent and the Demand for Workfare. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Vol. 153, pp. 77-102.

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Partisan Interactions

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We conducted a field experiment with 92,000 contributors to the Democrat and Republican candidates in the 2012 presidential election. We provide causal evidence that individuals feel pressure to agree with the political views of their neighbors and show that these partisan interactions exacerbate geographic polarization.

Perez-Truglia, R. and Cruces, G. (2017). Partisan Interactions: Evidence from a Field Experiment in the United States. Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 125 (4), pp. 1208–1243.

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Inflation Expectations and Supermarket Prices

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We use survey and field experiments to study the sources of information frictions for inflation expectations. We show that rational inattention explains some of the misperceptions. However, cognitive limitations play a role too: even when statistics are readily available, households still place a significant weight on less accurate sources of information such as their memories of supermarket prices.

Cavallo, A.; Cruces, G. and Perez-Truglia, R. (2017). Inflation Expectations, Learning and Supermarket Prices: Evidence from Field Experiments. American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, Vol. 9 (3), pp. 1–35.

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Learning from Potentially Biased Statistics

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We study how individuals learn from potentially biased statistics, using a natural experiment and a survey experiment. We examine a period (2007–15) when the government of Argentina was manipulating official inflation statistics. We provide evidence that, rather than ignoring biased statistics or naively accepting them, households react in a sophisticated way, as predicted by a Bayesian learning model.

Cavallo, A.; Cruces, G. and Perez-Truglia, R. (2016). Learning from Potentially Biased Statistics. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Spring 2016, pp. 59-108.

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Conveniently Upset

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We provide evidence of self-serving biases in other-regarding behavior: people’s beliefs about others are affected by their own desire to be selfish and that ambiguity about other people’s actions plays an important role in allowing selfish behavior. We designed a laboratory game (the “corruption game”) to study this phenomenon.

Di Tella, R., Perez-Truglia, R., Babino, A., Sigman, M. (2015). Conveniently Upset: Avoiding Altruism by Distorting Beliefs About Others’ Altruism. American Economic Review, Vol. 105 (11), pp. 3416-42.

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Losing my Religion

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We study the effects of the U.S. Catholic clergy abuse scandals. To estimate the causal effects, we conduct an event-study analysis that exploits the fine distribution of the scandals over space and time. We show that each scandal causes a significant and long-lasting decline in religious participation in the community in which it occurs. The scandals caused a large and long-lasting decline in charitable contributions.

Bottan, N. and Perez-Truglia, R. (2015). Losing my Religion: The Effects of Religious Scandals on Religious Participation and Charitable Giving. Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 129, pp. 106–119.

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Biased Perceptions of Relative Income

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Why do people misperceive their true position in the income distribution? Do those misperceptions affect their demand for redistribution? We provide evidence from a survey experiment.

Cruces, G., Perez-Truglia, R. and Tetaz, Martin (2013). Biased Perceptions of Income Distribution and Preferences for Redistribution: Evidence from a Survey Experiment. Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 98, pp. 100-112.

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Other Publications

Misperceptions About Tax Audits.

Bergolo, M.; Ceni, R.; Cruces, G.; Giaccobasso, M.; Perez-Truglia, R. (2018). American Economic Association P&P, Vol. 108, pp. 83–87.

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