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Bunching and Non-Bunching at Kink Points of the Swedish Tax Schedule

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  • Spencer Bastani
  • Håkan Selin

Abstract

Recent microeconometric studies of taxpayer’ responsiveness to taxation have shown that intensive margin labor supply and earnings elasticities typically are modest and sometimes equal to zero. However, a common view is that long-run responses might still be large since micro-estimates are downward biased owing to optimization frictions. In this paper we estimate the taxable income elasticity at a very large kink point of the Swedish tax schedule using the bunching method. During the period of study the change in the log net-of-tax rate reached a maximum value of 45.6%. Interestingly, we obtain a precise elasticity estimate of zero for wage earners at this large kink. The size of the kink allows us to derive tighter bounds on the long-run elasticity than previous studies. If wage earners on average tolerate 1% of their disposable income in optimization costs, the upper bound on the long-run taxable income elasticity is 0.39. We also evaluate the performance of the bunching estimator by performing Monte Carlo simulations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3865.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3865

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Keywords: bunching; taxable income; bounds; optimization frictions;

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  1. Bradley T. Heim, 2009. "Structural Estimation of Family Labor Supply with Taxes: Estimating a Continuous Hours Model Using a Direct Utility Specification," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(2).
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  13. Spencer Bastani & Håkan Selin, 2012. "Bunching and Non-Bunching at Kink Points of the Swedish Tax Schedule," CESifo Working Paper Series 3865, CESifo Group Munich.
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Cited by:
  1. Doerrenberg, Philipp & Duncan, Denvil, 2012. "Experimental Evidence on the Relationship between Tax Evasion Opportunities and Labor Supply," IZA Discussion Papers 6914, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Daniel le Maire & Bertel Schjerningo, 2012. "Tax Bunching, Income Shifting and Self-employment," EPRU Working Paper Series 2012-04, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  3. Almunia, Miguel & Lopez-Rodriguez, David, 2012. "The efficiency cost of tax enforcement: evidence from a panel of spanish firms," MPRA Paper 44153, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Bastani, Spencer & Selin, Håkan, 2014. "Bunching and non-bunching at kink points of the Swedish tax schedule," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 36-49.
  5. Alstadsæter, Annette & Jacob, Martin, 2013. "Who participates in tax avoidance?," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 148, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
  6. Jarkko Harju & Tuomas Matikka, 2013. "The elasticity of taxable income and income-shifting between tax bases: what is “real” and what is not?," Working Papers 1313, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  7. Kreiner, Claus Thustrup & Munch, Jakob Roland & Whitta-Jacobson, Hans-Jørgen, 2013. "Taxation and the Long Run Allocation of Labor: Theory and Danish Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 9275, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Jacob, Martin & Alstadsæter, Annette, 2013. "Payout policies of privately held firms: Flexibility and the role of income taxes," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 152, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
  9. Mazhar Waseem, 2013. "Taxes, Informality and Income Shifting: Evidence from a Recent Pakistani Tax Reform," 2013 Papers pwa641, Job Market Papers.

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