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Do Very High Tax Rates Induce Bunching? Implications for the Design of Income Contingent Loan Schemes

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  • BRUCE CHAPMAN
  • ANDREW LEIGH

Abstract

Under the Higher Education Contribution Scheme graduates face a sharp discontinuity in their taxable incomes. At the first repayment threshold, they are required to pay a percentage of their entire income to reduce their debts. This results in an extremely high effective marginal tax rate. Using a sample of taxpayer returns we investigate whether taxpayers bunch below the repayment threshold. We find a statistically significant degree of bunching below the threshold, but the effect is economically small. The result has important implications for the design of income contingent university loan schemes. Copyright © 2009 The Economic Society of Australia.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce Chapman & Andrew Leigh, 2009. "Do Very High Tax Rates Induce Bunching? Implications for the Design of Income Contingent Loan Schemes," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 85(270), pages 276-289, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecorec:v:85:y:2009:i:270:p:276-289
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Braithwaite, Valerie & Ahmed, Eliza, 2005. "A threat to tax morale: The case of Australian higher education policy," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 523-540, August.
    2. 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.
    3. Richard Blundell & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2004. "Has 'In-Work' Benefit Reform Helped the Labor Market?," NBER Chapters,in: Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000, pages 411-460 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stavrunova, Olena & Yerokhin, Oleg, 2014. "Tax incentives and the demand for private health insurance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 121-130.
    2. Del Rey, Elena & Racionero, María, 2010. "Financing schemes for higher education," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 104-113, March.
    3. Bruce Chapman & Mathias Sinning, 2014. "Student loan reforms for German higher education: financing tuition fees," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(6), pages 569-588, December.
    4. Blomquist, Sören & Simula, Laurent, 2010. "Marginal Deadweight Loss when the Income Tax is Nonlinear," Working Paper Series 2010:3, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    5. Chapman, Bruce & Lounkaew, Kiatanantha, 2010. "Income contingent student loans for Thailand: Alternatives compared," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 695-709, October.
    6. Bruce Chapman & Tim Higgins, 2009. "Income Contingent Loans for Paid Parental Leave," CEPR Discussion Papers 596, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education

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