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Tax-preferred savings accounts and marginal tax rates: evidence on RRSP participation

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  • Kevin Milligan

Abstract

The effect of taxes on participation in Registered Retirement Savings Plans between 1982 and 1996 is studied. Interprovincial changes in the tax structure over this period provide identifying variation. Using this variation, I find that taxes influence households' participation decisions, but more weakly than previously estimated. A 10 percentage point increase in the marginal tax rate is estimated to increase the probability of participation by 8 per cent. This explains only 5.1 per cent of the trend in participation. I also find suggestive evidence that the carryforward mechanism may be used as an instrument for tax base smoothing.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin Milligan, 2002. "Tax-preferred savings accounts and marginal tax rates: evidence on RRSP participation," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 35(3), pages 436-456, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:35:y:2002:i:3:p:436-456
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2007. "Simulating the Response to Reform of Canada," NBER Chapters,in: Social Security Programs and Retirement around the World: Fiscal Implications of Reform, pages 83-118 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Juan Ayuso & Juan F. Jimeno & Ernesto Villanueva, 2007. "The effects of the introduction of tax incentives on retirement savings," Working Papers 0724, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    3. Sule Alan & Kadir Atalay & Thomas F. Crossley, 2006. "Do the Rich Save More in Canada?," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 406, McMaster University.
    4. Håkan Selin, 2012. "Marginal Tax Rates and Tax‐Favoured Pension Savings of the Self‐Employed: Evidence from Sweden," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(1), pages 79-100, March.
    5. Alan, Sule & Atalay, Kadir & Crossley, Thomas F. & Jeon, Sung-Hee, 2010. "New evidence on taxes and portfolio choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 813-823, December.
    6. Michael Baker & Jonathan Gruber & Kevin Milligan, 2003. "Simulating the Response to Reform of Canada's Income Security Programs," NBER Working Papers 9455, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Engelhardt, Gary V. & Madrian, Brigitte C., 2004. "Employee Stock Purchase Plans," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 57(2), pages 385-406, June.
    8. Sule Alan & Kadir Atalay & Thomas F. Crossley, 2015. "Do the Rich Save More? Evidence from Canada," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 61(4), pages 739-758, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies

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