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Tax Reform and Automatic Stabilization

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  • Thomas J. Kniesner
  • James P. Ziliak

Abstract

An income tax provides implicit insurance by dampening the variability of disposable income and consumption. Using an empirical framework derived from the consumption insurance literature and data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics we examine the effect of federal income tax reforms of the 1980's on automatic stabilization of consumption. Overall, ERTA and TRA86 reduced consumption stability by about 50 percent. Recently increased EITC generosity restored or enhanced consumption insurance. The welfare cost of moving to the post-TRA86 system is sizable for relatively risk-averse households facing large income risk but is much more modest for the typical household. (JEL H21)

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas J. Kniesner & James P. Ziliak, 2002. "Tax Reform and Automatic Stabilization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 590-612, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:92:y:2002:i:3:p:590-612
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/00028280260136264
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    Cited by:

    1. Ziliak, James P. & Hardy, Bradley & Bollinger, Christopher, 2011. "Earnings volatility in America: Evidence from matched CPS," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 742-754.
    2. James P. Ziliak & Thomas J. Kniesner, 2005. "The Effect of Income Taxation on Consumption and Labor Supply," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 769-796, October.
    3. Thomas Kniesner & W. Viscusi & James Ziliak, 2010. "Policy relevant heterogeneity in the value of statistical life: New evidence from panel data quantile regressions," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 15-31, February.
    4. Scott Drewianka, 2010. "Cross-Sectional Variation In Individuals' Earnings Instability," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 56(2), pages 291-326, June.
    5. repec:bla:coecpo:v:35:y:2017:i:2:p:312-330 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Torben Andersen, 2005. "Is there a Role for an Active Fiscal Stabilization Policy?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1447, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Mathias Dolls & Clemens Fuest & Dirk Neumann & Andreas Peichl, 2018. "An unemployment insurance scheme for the euro area? A comparison of different alternatives using microdata," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 25(1), pages 273-309, February.
    8. Andreas Fagereng & Elin Halvorsen, 2015. "Imputing consumption from Norwegian income and wealth registry data," Discussion Papers 831, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    9. Alan J. Auerbach, 2002. "Is there a role for discretionary fiscal policy?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 109-150.
    10. Morissette, Rene & Ostrovsky, Yuri, 2008. "How Do Families and Unattached Individuals Respond to Layoffs? Evidence from Canada," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2008304e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    11. Dolls, Mathias & Fuest, Clemens & Peichl, Andreas, 2012. "Automatic stabilizers and economic crisis: US vs. Europe," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 279-294.
    12. Reagan Baughman & Stacy Dickert-Conlin, 2009. "The earned income tax credit and fertility," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(3), pages 537-563, July.
    13. Luis Huesca Reynoso & Abdelkrim Araar, 2016. "Comparison of fiscal system progressivity over time: theory and application in Mexico," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 31(1), pages 3-45.
    14. Julie L. Hotchkiss & Robert E. Moore & Fernando Rios-Avila, 2014. "Assessing the Welfare Impact of Tax Reform: A Case Study of the 2001 U.S. Tax Cut," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(2), pages 404-404, June.
    15. Stevan Luković, 2014. "The Role Of The Automatic Stabilizers In Modern Economy," Ekonomika, Journal for Economic Theory and Practice and Social Issues 2014-01, „Ekonomika“ Society of Economists, Niš (Serbia).
    16. Funashima, Yoshito, 2015. "Automatic stabilizers in the Japanese tax system," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 86-93.
    17. Morissette, Rene & Ostrovsky, Yuri, 2005. "The Instability of Family Earnings and Family Income in Canada, 1986 to 1991 and 1996 to 2001," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2005265e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    18. Dolls, Mathias & Fuest, Clemens & Kock, Jan & Peichl, Andreas & Wehrhöfer, Nils & Wittneben, Christian, 2014. "Abschlussbericht zu Forschungsvorhaben fe 5/14: "Automatic stabilizers in the Eurozone: Analysis of their effectiveness at the member state and euro area level and in international comparison&quo," ZEW Expertises, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research, number 111444.
    19. Julie L. Hotchkiss & Robert E. Moore, 2007. "Assessing the welfare impact of the 2001 tax reform on dual-earner families," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2007-27, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    20. Ivan Vidangos, 2009. "Household welfare, precautionary saving, and social insurance under multiple sources of risk," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-14, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    21. Yang, Juan & Mitchell, Paul D. & Gray, Michael & Steffey, Kevin, 2007. "Unbalanced Nested Component Error Model and the Value of Soil Insecticide and Bt Corn for Controlling Western Corn Rootworm," Staff Paper Series 510, University of Wisconsin, Agricultural and Applied Economics.
    22. Morissette, Rene & Ostrovsky, Yuri, 2008. "Comment les familles et les personnes seules reagissent-elles aux licenciements? Un eclairage canadien," Direction des etudes analytiques : documents de recherche 2008304f, Statistics Canada, Direction des etudes analytiques.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

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