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Income Responses to Tax Changes – Evidence from the Norwegian Tax Reform

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  • Thor O. Thoresen
  • Karl Ove Aarbu

    ()
    (Statistics Norway)

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    Abstract

    Several studies, conducted on U.S. data, have found rather strong income responses to changes in marginal tax rates, when treating tax reforms as "natural experiments" and applying the differences-of-differences estimator on individual income data. The Norwegian tax reform of 1992 implied substantial increases in the net-of-tax rate (1 minus the change in the marginal tax rate) for high-income earners, and this paper provides measures of the elasticity of taxable income with respect to these tax rate changes. The natural experiment assumption of the differences-of-differences approach is discussed. Since the tax reform implied other tax changes and both demographic variables and shifting macroeconomic conditions might impact on income growth, we include other explanatory variables in addition to the net-of-tax rate changes. When including other explanatory variables, tax elasticity estimates are affected, but only modestly. Our estimates of the elasticity of taxable income due to changes in the marginal net-of-tax rate range from about -0.20 to about 0.14.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Research Department of Statistics Norway in its series Discussion Papers with number 260.

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    Date of creation: Sep 1999
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    Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:260

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    Related research

    Keywords: Tax reform; Taxable income elasticity; Differences-of-differences estimator; Natural experiment.;

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    References

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    1. Aaberge, Rolf & Dagsvik, John K & Strom, Steinar, 1995. " Labor Supply Responses and Welfare Effects of Tax Reforms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 635-59, December.
    2. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Costas Meghir, 1995. "Estimating labour supply responses using tax reforms," IFS Working Papers W95/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    3. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
    4. Karl Ove Aarbu & Thor Olav Thoresen, 1997. "The Norwegian Tax Reform; Distributional Effects and the High-income Response," Discussion Papers 207, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
    5. Robert A Moffitt & Mark Wilhelm, 2000. "Taxation and the Labor Supply - Decisions of the Affluent," Economics Working Paper Archive 414, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
    6. Austan Goolsbee, 1998. "It's Not About the Money: Why Natural Experiments Don't Work on the Rich," NBER Working Papers 6395, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Slemrod, Joel, 1998. "Methodological Issues in Measuring and Interpreting Taxable Income Elasticities," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 4), pages 773-88, December.
    8. Richard Blundell & Thomas MaCurdy, 1998. "Labour supply: a review of alternative approaches," IFS Working Papers W98/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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