Quantifying the role of federal and state taxes in mitigating income inequality
AbstractIncome inequality has risen dramatically in the United States since at least 1980. This paper quantifies the role that the tax policies of the federal and state governments have played in mitigating this income inequality. The analysis, which isolates the contribution of federal taxes and state taxes separately, employs two approaches. First, cross-sectional estimates compare before-tax and after-tax inequality across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Second, inequality estimates across time are calculated to assess the evolution of the effects of tax policies. The results from the first approach indicate that the tax code reduces income inequality substantially in all states, with most of the compression of the income distribution attributable to federal taxes. Nevertheless, there is substantial cross-state variation in the extent to which state tax policies compress the income distribution attributable to federal taxes. Cross-state differences in gasoline taxes have a surprisingly large impact on income compression, as do sales tax exemptions for food and clothing. The results of the second approach indicate that there has been little change since the early 1980s in the impact of tax policy on income inequality across almost all states.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its series Public Policy Discussion Paper with number 11-7.
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ACC-2011-11-07 (Accounting & Auditing)
- NEP-AGR-2011-11-07 (Agricultural Economics)
- NEP-ALL-2011-11-07 (All new papers)
- NEP-PBE-2011-11-07 (Public Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Carola Frydman & Dirk Jenter, 2010.
Annual Review of Financial Economics,
Annual Reviews, vol. 2(1), pages 75-102, December.
- Carola Frydman & Dirk Jenter, 2010. "CEO Compensation," NBER Working Papers 16585, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Frydman, Carola & Jenter, Dirk, 2010. "CEO Compensation," Research Papers 2069, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
- Carola Frydman & Dirk Jenter, 2010. "CEO Compensation," CESifo Working Paper Series 3277, CESifo Group Munich.
- Emmanuel Saez & Joel Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2012.
"The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 3-50, March.
- Emmanuel Saez & Joel B. Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2009. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," NBER Working Papers 15012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Berliant, M.C. & Strauss, R.P., 1991.
"State and Federal Tax Equity: Estimates Before and After the Tax Reform Act of 1986,"
RCER Working Papers
297, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
- Marcus C. Berliant & Robert P. Strauss, 1993. "State and federal tax equity: Estimates before and after the Tax Reform Act of 1986," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 9-43.
- Bruce D. Meyer & Wallace K. C. Mok & James X. Sullivan, 2009.
"The Under-Reporting of Transfers in Household Surveys: Its Nature and Consequences,"
NBER Working Papers
15181, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bruce D. Meyer & Wallace K. C. Mok & James X. Sullivan, 2009. "The Under-Reporting of Transfers in Household Surveys: Its Nature and Consequences," Working Papers 0903, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Catherine Spozio).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.