IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aejpol/v2y2010i3p180-212.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Do Taxpayers Bunch at Kink Points?

Author

Listed:
  • Emmanuel Saez

Abstract

This paper uses tax return data to analyze bunching at the kink points of the US income tax schedule. We estimate the compensated elasticity of reported income with respect to (one minus) the marginal tax rate using bunching evidence. We find clear evidence of bunching around the first kink point of the Earned Income Tax Credit but concentrated solely among the self-employed. A simple tax evasion model can account for those results. We find evidence of bunching at the threshold of the first income tax bracket where tax liability starts but no evidence of bunching at any other kink point. (JEL H23, H24, H26)

Suggested Citation

  • Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Do Taxpayers Bunch at Kink Points?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 180-212, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:2:y:2010:i:3:p:180-212
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.2.3.180
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/pol.2.3.180
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/pol/data/2009-0060_data.zip
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kevin M. Murphy & Finis Welch, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326.
    2. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "The Social Security Earnings Test and Labor Supply of Older Men," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 12, pages 121-150, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. McCubbin, Janet, 2000. "EITC Noncompliance: The Determinants of the Misreporting of Children," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1135-64, December.
    4. Aaron S. Yelowitz, 1995. "The Medicaid Notch, Labor Supply, and Welfare Participation: Evidence from Eligibility Expansions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(4), pages 909-939.
    5. Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Do Taxpayers Bunch at Kink Points?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 180-212, August.
    6. Martin Feldstein, 1999. "Tax Avoidance And The Deadweight Loss Of The Income Tax," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 674-680, November.
    7. Moffitt, Robert, 1986. "The Econometrics of Piecewise-Linear Budget Constraints: A Survey and Exposition of the Maximum Likelihood Method," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 4(3), pages 317-328, July.
    8. Hardle, Wolfgang & Linton, Oliver, 1986. "Applied nonparametric methods," Handbook of Econometrics, in: R. F. Engle & D. McFadden (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 38, pages 2295-2339, Elsevier.
    9. 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.
    10. Saez, Emmanuel, 2003. "The effect of marginal tax rates on income: a panel study of 'bracket creep'," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 1231-1258, May.
    11. Brown, Kristine M., 2013. "The link between pensions and retirement timing: Lessons from California teachers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 1-14.
    12. Austan Goolsbee, 2000. "What Happens When You Tax the Rich? Evidence from Executive Compensation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 352-378, April.
    13. Burtless, Gary & Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "The Effect of Taxation on Labor Supply: Evaluating the Gary Negative Income Tax Experiments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 1103-1130, December.
    14. Hardle, Wolfgang & Linton, Oliver, 1986. "Applied nonparametric methods," Handbook of Econometrics, in: R. F. Engle & D. McFadden (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 38, pages 2295-2339, Elsevier.
    15. Moffitt, Robert, 1990. "The Econometrics of Kinked Budget Constraints," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 119-139, Spring.
    16. LaLumia, Sara, 2009. "The Earned Income Tax Credit and Reported Self-Employment Income," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 62(2), pages 191-217, June.
    17. Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1998. "The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Incentives and Income Distribution," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 12, pages 83-120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Kane, Thomas J., 1998. "Savings Incentives for Higher Education," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 3), pages 609-20, September.
    19. Leora Friedberg, 2000. "The Labor Supply Effects of the Social Security Earnings Test," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 48-63, February.
    20. David Card & Richard Blundell & Richard B. Freeman, 2004. "Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number card04-1.
    21. David Card & Richard Blundell & Richard B. Freeman, 2004. "Introduction to "Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000"," NBER Chapters, in: Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000, pages 1-8, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
    23. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 1999. "Social Security and Retirement around the World," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub99-1.
    24. Thomas MaCurdy & David Green & Harry Paarsch, 1990. "Assessing Empirical Approaches for Analyzing Taxes and Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 415-490.
    25. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Tore Olsen & Luigi Pistaferri, 2010. "Adjustment Costs, Firm Responses, and Labor Supply Elasticities: Evidence from Danish Tax Records," CAM Working Papers 2010-03, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
    26. repec:hoo:wpaper:e-90-11 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Tore Olsen & Luigi Pistaferri, 2011. "Adjustment Costs, Firm Responses, and Micro vs. Macro Labor Supply Elasticities: Evidence from Danish Tax Records," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 749-804.
    2. Carina Neisser, 2017. "The elasticity of taxable income: A meta-regression analysis," Working Papers 2017/10, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    3. Michael P. Keane, 2011. "Labor Supply and Taxes: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(4), pages 961-1075, December.
    4. Blomquist, Sören & Simula, Laurent, 2019. "Marginal deadweight loss when the income tax is nonlinear," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 211(1), pages 47-60.
    5. Anil Kumar & Che-Yuan Liang, 2016. "Estimating Taxable Income Responses with Elasticity Heterogeneity," Working Papers 1611, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    6. Kumar, Anil & Liang, Che-Yuan, 2020. "Estimating taxable income responses with elasticity heterogeneity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 188(C).
    7. 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.
    8. Kowalski, Amanda E., 2015. "Estimating the tradeoff between risk protection and moral hazard with a nonlinear budget set model of health insurance," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 122-135.
    9. Dominic Coey, 2011. "Estimating Income Tax Salience," Discussion Papers 10-026, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    10. Anil Kumar, 2012. "Nonparametric estimation of the impact of taxes on female labor supply," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(3), pages 415-439, April.
    11. Kumar, Anil & Liang, Che-Yuan, 2015. "The Taxable Income Elasticity: A Structural Differencing Approach," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2015:1, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    12. Emmanuel Saez, 2004. "Reported Incomes and Marginal Tax Rates, 1960-2000: Evidence and Policy Implications," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 18, pages 117-174, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Charles Ka Yui Leung & Tin Cheuk Leung & Kwok Ping Tsang, 2015. "Tax-driven Bunching of Housing Market Transactions: The Case of Hong Kong," International Real Estate Review, Global Social Science Institute, vol. 18(4), pages 473-501.
    14. Matikka, Tuomas, 2014. "Taxable Income Elasticity and the Anatomy of Behavioral Response: Evidence from Finland," Working Papers 55, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    15. Saez, Emmanuel, 2003. "The effect of marginal tax rates on income: a panel study of 'bracket creep'," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 1231-1258, May.
    16. Day Manoli & Andrea Weber, 2016. "Nonparametric Evidence on the Effects of Financial Incentives on Retirement Decisions," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 160-182, November.
    17. Jos順鬩x Sanz-Sanz & Mar, 2015. "Reported gross income and marginal tax rates: estimation of the behavioural reactions of Spanish taxpayers," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(5), pages 466-484, January.
    18. Julie Shi, 2016. "Income Responses to Health Insurance Subsidies: Evidence from Massachusetts," American Journal of Health Economics, MIT Press, vol. 2(1), pages 96-124, January.
    19. Laun, Lisa, 2017. "The effect of age-targeted tax credits on labor force participation of older workers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 102-118.
    20. Raj Chetty, 2006. "A New Method of Estimating Risk Aversion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1821-1834, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance

    Lists

    This item is featured on the following reading lists, Wikipedia, or ReplicationWiki pages:
    1. Do Taxpayers Bunch at Kink Points? (American Economic Journal: Economic Policy 2010) in ReplicationWiki

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:2:y:2010:i:3:p:180-212. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael P. Albert). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.