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Political support and tax reforms with an application to Italy

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  • Paola Profeta

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Abstract

In 2001 the Italian government introduced a personal income tax reform to be implemented in successive phases. In 2004 taxes were reduced to all income levels with higher gains for low-income and high-income individuals than for middle-income ones. A large debate arised. This paper explores the political economy reasons under this tax reform, mainly the attempt of the government to attract the uncertain voters (swing voters). A probabilistic voting model is introduced to capture the importance of swing voters. The model predicts that the average personal income tax rate tends to be lower for groups of lower income, higher preference for leisure and containing more politically mobile voters (swing voters). However, data from Italian polls show that, while the tax reform was a good strategy to attract swing voters, the specific design of the reform, which favored high-income and low-income individuals, but not the middle class, was not the more appropriate strategy. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 131 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 141-155

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:131:y:2007:i:1:p:141-155

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

Related research

Keywords: Swing voters; Probabilistic voting; Survey evidence; Applied political economy;

References

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  1. Paola Profeta, 2002. "Retirement and Social Security in a Probabilistic Voting Model," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 331-348, August.
  2. Kreps, David M, 1997. "Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 359-64, May.
  3. Hettich,Walter & Winer,Stanley L., 2005. "Democratic Choice and Taxation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521021807, April.
  4. Coughlin, Peter & Nitzan, Shmuel, 1981. "Directional and local electoral equilibria with probabilistic voting," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 226-239, April.
  5. Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
  6. Laurence Kranich & Joan Esteban, 2002. "Redistributive Taxation with Endogenous Sentiments," Discussion Papers 02-12, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
  7. Piketty, Thomas, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-84, August.
  8. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2003. "Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 489-520.
  9. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
  10. Joan M. Esteban & Laurence Kranich, 2002. "Redistributive Taxation with Endogenous Sentiments," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 529.02, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  11. Hinich, Melvin J. & Ledyard, John O. & Ordeshook, Peter C., 1972. "Nonvoting and the existence of equilibrium under majority rule," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 144-153, April.
  12. Alberto Alesina & Edward Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Why Doesn't the United States Have a European-Style Welfare State?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(2), pages 187-278.
  13. Matteo Cervellati & Joan Mª Esteban & Laurence Kranich, 2005. "Redistributive Taxation with Endogenous Sentiments," Working Papers 254, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  14. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000. "Pay Enough Or Don'T Pay At All," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 791-810, August.
  15. Luigi, Bernardi, 2002. "Tax systems and tax reforms in Europe: Italy," MPRA Paper 18045, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  16. Coughlin, Peter & Nitzan, Shmuel, 1981. "Electoral outcomes with probabilistic voting and Nash social welfare maxima," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 113-121, February.
  17. Bernasconi, Michele, 2006. "Redistributive taxation in democracies: Evidence on people's satisfaction," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 809-837, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Lars P. Feld & Christoph A. Schaltegger, 2012. "Die Politische Ökonomik der Besteuerung," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 13(1-2), pages 116-136, 02.
  2. Micael Castanheira & Gaëtan Nicodème & Paola Profeta, 2012. "On the political economics of tax reforms: survey and empirical assessment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 598-624, August.
  3. European Commission, 2012. "Tax reforms in EU Member States - Tax policy challenges for economic growth and fiscal sustainability – 2012 Report," Taxation Papers 34, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
  4. Profeta, Paola & Puglisi, Riccardo & Scabrosetti, Simona, 2013. "Does democracy affect taxation and government spending? Evidence from developing countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 684-718.
  5. Eisenhauer, Joseph G., 2011. "The rich, the poor, and the middle class: Thresholds and intensity indices," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 294-304, December.
  6. Micael Castanheira & Gaëtan J.A. Nicodème & Paola Profeta, 2011. "On the Political Economics of Tax Reforms," CESifo Working Paper Series 3538, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Dolmas, Jim, 2014. "Almost orthogonal outcomes under probabilistic voting: A cautionary example," MPRA Paper 53628, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. repec:ese:iserwp:2011-29 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Paola Profeta, 2008. "Political Support and Tax Reforms: An Italian Example," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 6(1), pages 32-36, 04.

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