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Tax Policy Design in The Presence of Social Preferences: Some Experimental Evidence

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Abstract

This paper reports the results of experiments designed to examine whether a taste for fairness affects people’s preferred tax structure. Building on the Fehr and Schmidt (1999) model we devise a simple test for the presence of social preferences in voting for alternative tax structures. The experimental results show that individuals demonstrate concern for their own payoff and inequality aversion in choosing between alternative tax structures. However, concern for redistribution decreases when it leads to increasing deadweight losses. Our findings have important implications for the design of optimal tax theory.

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File URL: http://icepp.gsu.edu/sites/default/files/documents/icepp/wp/ispwp0425.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University in its series International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU with number paper0425.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 01 Nov 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ays:ispwps:paper0425

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Phone: 404-413-0235
Fax: 404-413-0244
Web page: http://aysps.gsu.edu/isp/index.html

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Keywords: tax policy; social preferences; fairness;

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  2. Olof Johansson-Stenman & Fredrik Carlsson & Dinky Daruvala, 2002. "Measuring Future Grandparents" Preferences for Equality and Relative Standing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(479), pages 362-383, April.
  3. Charness, Gary B & Rabin, Matthew, 2001. "Understanding Social Preferences With Simple Tests," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt0dc3k4m5, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
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  9. Alvin E. Roth & V. Prasnikar & M. Okuno-Fujiwara & S. Zamir, 1998. "Bargaining and market behavior in Jerusalem, Liubljana, Pittsburgh and Tokyo: an experimental study," Levine's Working Paper Archive 344, David K. Levine.
  10. Lucy F. Ackert & Bryan K. Church & Richard Deaves, 2003. "Emotion and financial markets," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q2, pages 33-41.
  11. Benjamin E. Hermalin & Alice M. Isen, 2000. "The Effect of Affect on Economic and Strategic Decision Making," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1136, Econometric Society.
  12. Peter A. Diamond & J. A. Mirrlees, 1968. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production," Working papers 22, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  13. Colin F. Camerer, 1997. "Progress in Behavioral Game Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 167-188, Fall.
  14. Guth, Werner & Tietz, Reinhard, 1990. "Ultimatum bargaining behavior : A survey and comparison of experimental results," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 417-449, September.
  15. Hettich, Walter & Winer, Stanley L, 1988. "Economic and Political Foundations of Tax Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 701-12, September.
  16. Norman Gemmell & Oliver Morrissey & Abuzer Pinar, 2004. "Tax perceptions and preferences over tax structure in the united kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(493), pages F117-F138, 02.
  17. Hoffman Elizabeth & McCabe Kevin & Shachat Keith & Smith Vernon, 1994. "Preferences, Property Rights, and Anonymity in Bargaining Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 346-380, November.
  18. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
  19. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-41, September.
  20. F. Carlsson & G. Gupta & O. Johansson-Stenman, 2003. "Choosing from behind a veil of ignorance in India," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(13), pages 825-827.
  21. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Friedrich Heinemann & Martin Kocher, 2013. "Tax compliance under tax regime changes," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 225-246, April.
  2. Wolfgang Höchtl & Rupert Sausgruber & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2011. "Inequality Aversion and Voting on Redistribution," Discussion Papers 11-18, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  3. Leonardo Becchetti & Giacomo Degli Antoni & Stefania Ottone & Nazaria Solferino, 2011. "Spectators versus stakeholders with or without veil of ignorance: The difference it makes for justice and chosen distribution criteria," Working Papers 204, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  4. Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah, 2010. "Is the veil of ignorance only a concept about risk? An experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 1062-1066, December.
  5. Leonardo Becchetti & Giacomo Degli Antoni & Stefania Ottone & Nazaria Solferino, 2012. "Spectators Versus Stakeholders with/without Information: the Difference it Makes for Justice," CEIS Research Paper 221, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 20 Feb 2012.
  6. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Mark Rider & Lucy F. Ackert & Ann Gillette, 2005. "Experimental Evidence for Tax Policy Design," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0517, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.

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