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Taxation and top incomes in Canada

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  • Kevin Milligan
  • Michael Smart

Abstract

We estimate the elasticity of reported income with respect to tax rates for high earners using sub-national variation across Canadian provinces. We argue this allows for better identification of tax elasticities than the existing literature. We find that elasticities of reported income at the provincial level are large for incomes in the top 1%, but small for lower earners. There are strong indications that the response happens both through earned and capital income. While our estimated elasticities are large, changes in tax rates cannot explain much of the overall long-run trend of higher income concentration in Canada.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin Milligan & Michael Smart, 2015. "Taxation and top incomes in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 48(2), pages 655-681, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:48:y:2015:i:2:p:655-681
    DOI: 10.1111/caje.12139
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephen Gordon, 2020. "The incidence of income taxes on high earners in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 53(2), pages 437-459, May.
    2. Bev Dahlby & Kevin Milligan, 2017. "From theory to practice: Canadian economists’ contributions to public finance," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 50(5), pages 1324-1347, December.
    3. Audra Bowlus & Émilien Gouin-Bonenfant & Huju Liu & Lance Lochner & Youngmin Park, 2021. "Four Decades of Canadian Earnings Inequality and Dynamics Across Workers and Firms," Staff Working Papers 21-20, Bank of Canada.
    4. Alexandre Laurin, 2018. "Unhappy Returns: A Preliminary Estimate of Taxpayers Responsiveness to the 2016 Top Tax Rate Hike," e-briefs 283, C.D. Howe Institute.
    5. Liam C. Malloy, 2016. "Do Lower Top Marginal Tax Rates Slow the Income Growth of Workers?," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 30(1), pages 61-87, March.
    6. Nicolas Zorn & Olivier Jacques, 2017. "Under the Rising Wave. How Disaggregated Revenue Sources Can Tell Another Story for Québec’s Top Income Share," Journal of Income Distribution, Ad libros publications inc., vol. 25(1), pages 1-25, March.
    7. Kenneth McKenzie, 2019. "Altering the Tax Mix in Alberta," SPP Research Papers, The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary, vol. 12(25), September.

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    JEL classification:

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

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