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The Role of Misconceptions in Support for Regressive Tax Reform

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  • Slemrod, Joel

Abstract

In this paper, I use data from an exceptionally detailed survey of attitudes toward taxation in the United States to investigate the relative importance of one particular misconception—that high–income people would pay more tax under an apparently regressive reform, mostly because many people believe that the distribution of the burden of the existing income tax is regressive—in explaining public support for a fl at tax and a retail sales tax. I find that this policy misconception is strongly associated with support for replacing the existing income tax with either of these two alternatives. A similar misconception about the distributional impact of the estate tax explains some of the support for eliminating that tax.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by National Tax Association in its journal National Tax Journal.

Volume (Year): 59 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 57-75

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Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:59:y:2006:i:1:p:57-75

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Cited by:
  1. Cruces, Guillermo & Perez-Truglia, Ricardo & Tetaz, Martin, 2013. "Biased perceptions of income distribution and preferences for redistribution: Evidence from a survey experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 100-112.
  2. Rupert Sausgruber & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2008. "Tax Salience, Voting, and Deliberation," Working Papers 2009-25, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  3. LaLumia, Sara, 2008. "The effects of joint taxation of married couples on labor supply and non-wage income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1698-1719, July.
  4. Friedrich Heinemann & Eckhard Janeba, 2011. "Viewing Tax Policy Through Party‐Colored Glasses: What German Politicians Believe," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(3), pages 286-311, 08.
  5. Sausgruber, Rupert & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2011. "Are we taxing ourselves?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 164-176.
  6. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2007. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Arno Riedl, 2009. "Behavioral and Experimental Economics Can Inform Public Policy: Some Thoughts," CESifo Working Paper Series 2902, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Raj Chetty, 2009. "The Simple Economics of Salience and Taxation," NBER Working Papers 15246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Ilyana Kuziemko & Michael I. Norton & Emmanuel Saez & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2013. "How Elastic Are Preferences for Redistribution? Evidence from Randomized Survey Experiments," NBER Working Papers 18865, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Krupnikov, Yanna & Levine, Adam S. & Lupia, Arthur & Prior, Markus, 2006. "Public Ignorance and Estate Tax Repeal: The Effect of Partisan Differences and Survey Incentives," MPRA Paper 346, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Joel Slemrod, 2010. "Old George Orwell Got It Backward: Some Thoughts on Behavioral Tax Economics," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 66(1), pages 15-33, March.

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