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Do Taxpayers Bunch at Kink Points?

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  • Emmanuel Saez

Abstract

This paper uses tax return data to analyze bunching at the kink points of the US income tax schedule. We estimate the compensated elasticity of reported income with respect to (one minus) the marginal tax rate using bunching evidence. We find clear evidence of bunching around the first kink point of the Earned Income Tax Credit but concentrated solely among the self-employed. A simple tax evasion model can account for those results. We find evidence of bunching at the threshold of the first income tax bracket where tax liability starts but no evidence of bunching at any other kink point. (JEL H23, H24, H26)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 180-212

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:2:y:2010:i:3:p:180-212

Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.2.3.180
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  1. McCubbin, Janet, 2000. "EITC Noncompliance: The Determinants of the Misreporting of Children," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1135-64, December.
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  7. David Card & Richard Blundell & Richard B. Freeman, 2004. "Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number card04-1.
  8. Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1998. "The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Incentives and Income Distribution," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 12, pages 83-120 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Aaron Yelowitz, 1995. "The Medicaid Notch, Labor Supply and Welfare Participation: Evidence from Eligibility Expansions," UCLA Economics Working Papers 738, UCLA Department of Economics.
  10. Emmanuel Saez, 1999. "Do Taxpayers Bunch at Kink Points?," NBER Working Papers 7366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Thomas MaCurdy & David Green & Harry Paarsch, 1990. "Assessing Empirical Approaches for Analyzing Taxes and Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 415-490.
  12. Saez, Emmanuel, 2003. "The effect of marginal tax rates on income: a panel study of 'bracket creep'," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 1231-1258, May.
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  18. repec:fth:stanho:e-90-11 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "The Social Security Earnings Test and Labor Supply of Older Men," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 12, pages 121-150 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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