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Does Tax-Collection Invariance Hold? Evasion and the Pass-Through of State Diesel Taxes

Author

Listed:
  • Wojciech Kopczuk
  • Justin Marion
  • Erich Muehlegger
  • Joel Slemrod

Abstract

In simple models, the incidence of a tax is independent of the identity of the remitting party. We illustrate that this prediction fails to hold if opportunities for evasion differ across economic agents. Second, we estimate how the incidence of state diesel taxes varies with the point of collection, where the remitting party varies across states and over time. Moving tax collection upstream from retailers substantially raises the pass-through of diesel taxes to consumers. Furthermore, tax revenues increase when collecting taxes from wholesalers rather than from retailers, suggesting that evasion is the likely explanation for the incidence result. (JEL H22, H25, H26, H71, L71)

Suggested Citation

  • Wojciech Kopczuk & Justin Marion & Erich Muehlegger & Joel Slemrod, 2016. "Does Tax-Collection Invariance Hold? Evasion and the Pass-Through of State Diesel Taxes," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(2), pages 251-286, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:8:y:2016:i:2:p:251-86
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.20140271
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sharat Ganapati & Joseph S. Shapiro & Reed Walker, 2016. "Energy Prices, Pass-Through, and Incidence in U.S. Manufacturing," Working Papers 16-27, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. Benjamin Hansen & Keaton Miller & Caroline Weber, 2017. "The Taxation of Recreational Marijuana: Evidence from Washington State," NBER Working Papers 23632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jarkko Harju & Tuomas Kosonen & Oskar Nordström Skans, 2015. "Firm Types, Price-Setting Strategies, and Consumption-Tax Incidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 5654, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Sharat Ganapati & Joseph S. Shapiro & Reed Walker, 2016. "The Incidence of Carbon Taxes in U.S. Manufacturing: Lessons from Energy Cost Pass-Through," NBER Working Papers 22281, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Youssef Benzarti & Dorian Carloni & Jarkko Harju & Tuomas Kosonen, 2017. "What Goes Up May Not Come Down: Asymmetric Incidence of Value-Added Taxes," NBER Working Papers 23849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Gabriel E. Lade & James Bushnell, 2016. "Fuel Subsidy Pass-Through and Market Structure: Evidence from the Renewable Fuel Standard," Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) Publications 16-wp570, Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) at Iowa State University.
    7. Pietro Battiston & Denvil Duncan & Simona Gamba & Alessandro Santoro, 2016. "The Italian Blitz: a natural experiment on audit publicity and tax compliance," FBK-IRVAPP Working Papers 2016-10, Research Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies (IRVAPP), Bruno Kessler Foundation.
    8. Don Fullerton & Erich Muehlegger, 2017. "Who Bears the Economic Costs of Environmental Regulations?," NBER Working Papers 23677, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. repec:eee:pubeco:v:160:y:2018:i:c:p:1-13 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Chen, Shawn Xiaoguang, 2017. "The effect of a fiscal squeeze on tax enforcement: Evidence from a natural experiment in China," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 62-76.
    11. repec:eee:juecon:v:100:y:2017:i:c:p:137-153 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Gabriel E. Lade, 2018. "Testimony Before the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 18-pb24, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • L71 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Hydrocarbon Fuels

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