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The Effect Of Recent Tax Changes On Tax-Preferred Saving Behavior

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  • Heim, Bradley T.
  • Lurie, Ithai Z.
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    Abstract

    This paper estimates the extent to which changes in tax policy induce changes in contributions to tax-preferred savings accounts using a panel of tax returns from 1999–2005 that spans the tax changes enacted in the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. The results suggest a statistically significant, though small, response of taxpayers to changes in the after-tax price of contributing on the extensive margin, but not on the intensive margin. There is also some suggestive evidence that increases in after-tax incomes may have increased the probability of contributing to tax-preferred savings accounts and the amount contributed, though these results are not robust to alternative specifications.

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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 65 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 (June Citation: 65 National Tax Journal 283-311 (June 2012))
    Pages: 283-311

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    Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:65:y:2012:i:2:p:283-311

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    1. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1988. "Introduction to "Pensions in the U.S. Economy"," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions in the U.S. Economy, pages 1-8 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1996. "How Retirement Saving Programs Increase Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 91-112, Fall.
    3. Gruber, Jon & Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The elasticity of taxable income: evidence and implications," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-32, April.
    4. Gary V. Engelhardt & Anil Kumar, 2004. "Employer Matching and 401(k) Saving: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College 2004-18, Center for Retirement Research.
    5. Jon Bakija & Bradley Heim, 2008. "How Does Charitable Giving Respond to Incentives and Income? New Estimates from Panel Data," Department of Economics Working Papers 2008-01, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Jun 2011.
    6. Power, Laura & Rider, Mark, 2002. "The effect of tax-based savings incentives on the self-employed," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 33-52, July.
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    8. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1996. "The Illusory Effects of Saving Incentives on Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 113-138, Fall.
    9. Bassett, William F. & Fleming, Michael J. & Rodrigues, Anthony P., 1998. "How Workers Use 401(k) Plans: The Participation, Contribution, and Withdrawal Decisions," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 2), pages 263-89, June Cita.
    10. Leslie E. Papke, 1995. "Participation in and Contributions to 401(k) Pension Plans: Evidence from Plan Data," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(2), pages 311-325.
    11. Jon Bakija, 2006. "Documentation for a Comprehensive Historical U.S. Federal and State Income Tax Calculator Program," Department of Economics Working Papers 2006-02, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Aug 2009.
    12. Cunningham, Christopher R. & Engelhardt, Gary V., 2002. "Federal Tax Policy, Employer Matching, and 401(k) Saving: Evidence from HRS W-2 Records," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(3), pages 617-45, September.
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    14. Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "Capital Taxation and Accumulation in a Life Cycle Growth Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 533-44, September.
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