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Tax Burden and the Mismeasurement of State Tax Policy

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Author Info

  • W. Robert Reed

    (University of Canterbury, New Zealand)

  • Cynthia L. Rogers

    (University of Oklahoma)

Abstract

Tax Burden, defined as the ratio of total tax revenues over personal income, is frequently used to measure state tax policy. The authors analyze the empirical relationship between changes in Tax Burden and changes in tax policies from 1987 to 2000 using states’ forecasts of revenue impacts of new tax legislation. Their two major findings have important implications. First, they demonstrate that income-induced, nontax policy changes are a significant determinant of changes in Tax Burden. These income effects are likely to cause misinterpretation when Tax Burden is used as a variable in economic growth regressions. Second, they estimate that approximately half of the total variation in Tax Burden is due to changes in nontax policy factors. This finding quantifies the extent of the “mismeasurement†problem that has been discussed, but not analyzed, in previous literature. In concluding, the authors promote the use of alternative approaches for estimating the economic effects of taxes.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by in its journal Public Finance Review.

Volume (Year): 34 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 404-426

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Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:34:y:2006:i:4:p:404-426

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Keywords: tax policy; fiscal policy; Tax Burden; state economic development; tax rates;

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References

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  2. Helms, L Jay, 1985. "The Effect of State and Local Taxes on Economic Growth: A Time Series-Cross Section Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(4), pages 574-82, November.
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  9. Zsolt Becsi, 1996. "Do state and local taxes affect relative state growth?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Mar, pages 18-36.
  10. Easterly, William & Rebelo, Sérgio, 1994. "Fiscal Policy and Economic Growth: An Empirical Investigation," CEPR Discussion Papers 885, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Timothy J. Bartik, 2003. "Local Economic Development Policies," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 03-91, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
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  13. Mofidi, Alaeddin & Stone, Joe A, 1990. "Do State and Local Taxes Affect Economic Growth?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(4), pages 686-91, November.
  14. Reed, W. Robert & Rogers, Cynthia L., 2003. "A study of quasi-experimental control group methods for estimating policy impacts," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-25, January.
  15. Benson, Bruce L & Johnson, Ronald N, 1986. "The Lagged Impact of State and Local Taxes on Economic Activity and Political Behavior," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 24(3), pages 389-401, July.
  16. Timothy J. Bartik, 1991. "Who Benefits from State and Local Economic Development Policies?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number wbsle.
  17. Grier, Kevin B. & Tullock, Gordon, 1989. "An empirical analysis of cross-national economic growth, 1951-1980," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 259-276, September.
  18. Knight, Brian G., 2000. "Supermajority voting requirements for tax increases: evidence from the states," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 41-67, April.
  19. Michael A. Nelson, 2000. "Electoral Cycles and the Politics of State Tax Policy," Public Finance Review, , vol. 28(6), pages 540-560, November.
  20. Yamarik, Steven, 2000. "Can tax policy help explain state-level macroeconomic growth?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 211-215, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Rogers, Cynthia L. & Wu, Chen, 2012. "Employment by foreign firms in the U.S.: Do state incentives matter?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 664-680.
  2. W. Robert Reed & Cynthia L. Rogers & Mark Skidmore, 2008. "On Estimating Marginal Tax Rates and Tax Progressivities for U.S. States," Working Papers in Economics 08/17, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.

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