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Is A Value Added Tax Progressive? Annual Versus Lifetime Incidence Measures

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  • Erik Caspersen
  • Gilbert Metcalf

Abstract

We measure the lifetime incidence of a value added tax (V AT) using income data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and consumption data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX). When annual income is used as a measure of economic well-being, a VAT looks quite regressive. However, the results change significantly when the analysis is done using lifetime income. Using two different measures of lifetime income, we find that a VAT in the United States would be proportional to slightly progressive over the lifetime.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4387.

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Date of creation: Jun 1993
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Publication status: published as National Tax Journal, 47 (1994): pp. 731-746
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4387

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  1. Lyon, Andrew B & Schwab, Robert M, 1995. "Consumption Taxes in a Life-Cycle Framework: Are Sin Taxes Regressive?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(3), pages 389-406, August.
  2. Benjamin Eden & Ariel Pakes, 1981. "On Measuring the Variance-Age Profile of Lifetime Earnings," UCLA Economics Working Papers 196, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Brashares, Edith & Speyrer, Janet Furman & Carlson, George N., 1988. "Distributional Aspects of a Federal Value-Added Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 41(2), pages 155-74, June.
  4. James M. Poterba, 1991. "Is the Gasoline Tax Regressive?," NBER Working Papers 3578, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Krueger, 1990. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," NBER Working Papers 3572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. David M. Cutler & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "Macroeconomic Performance and the Disadvantaged," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 1-74.
  7. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
  8. Lee A. Lillard, 1975. "Inequality: Earnings vs. Human Wealth," NBER Working Papers 0080, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Parsons, Donald O, 1978. "The Autocorrelation of Earnings, Human Wealth Inequality, and Income Contingent Loans," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 551-69, November.
  10. John M. Abowd & David Card, 1986. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," NBER Working Papers 1832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. James M. Poterba, 1989. "Lifetime Incidence and the Distributional Burden of Excise Taxes," NBER Working Papers 2833, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Suits, Daniel B, 1977. "Measurement of Tax Progressivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 747-52, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Bengtsson, Niklas & Holmlund, Bertil & Waldenström, Daniel, 2012. "Lifetime versus Annual Tax Progressivity: Sweden, 1968–2009," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2012:13, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  2. Daniel R. Feenberg & Andrew W. Mitrusi & James M. Poterba, 1997. "Distributional Effects of Adopting a National Retail Sales Tax," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 11, pages 49-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Arsić, Milojko & Altiparmakov, Nikola, 2013. "Equity aspects of VAT in emerging European countries: A case study of Serbia," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 171-186.
  4. Mathur, Aparna & Morris, Adele C., 2014. "Distributional effects of a carbon tax in broader U.S. fiscal reform," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 326-334.
  5. Hammar, Henrik & Jagers, Sverker C., 2007. "What is a fair CO2 tax increase? On fair emission reductions in the transport sector," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2-3), pages 377-387, March.

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