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Tax perceptions and preferences over tax structure in the united kingdom

Author

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  • Norman Gemmell
  • Oliver Morrissey
  • Abuzer Pinar

Abstract

Do voters know their tax liabilities accurately or do they systematically misperceive them? Could such misperceptions influence voters' choices over alternative tax structures proposed by politicians? This paper assesses the accuracy of individuals' tax perceptions in the UK using micro-data from the British Social Attitudes Survey (1995) and tests an empirical model of the determinants of tax structure preferences, including tax misperceptions. A systematic bias towards "over"-estimation of income and expenditure tax (VAT) liabilities is found and individ uals' tax preferences appear to be both dominated by self-interest and distorted by tax misperceptions. Copyright 2004 Royal Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Norman Gemmell & Oliver Morrissey & Abuzer Pinar, 2004. "Tax perceptions and preferences over tax structure in the united kingdom," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(493), pages 117-138, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:114:y:2004:i:493:p:f117-f138
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    Cited by:

    1. Bessho, Shun-ichiro & Hayashi, Masayoshi, 2011. "Labor supply response and preferences specification: Estimates for prime-age males in Japan," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 398-411, October.
    2. Jappelli, Tullio & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2007. "Do people respond to tax incentives? An analysis of the Italian reform of the deductibility of home mortgage interests," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 247-271, February.
    3. Lucy F. Ackert & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Mark Rider, 2007. "Social Preferences And Tax Policy Design: Some Experimental Evidence," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 487-501, July.
    4. Åsa Lofgren & Katarina Nordblom, 2009. "Puzzling tax attitudes and labels," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(18), pages 1809-1812.
    5. Bastani, Spencer & Waldenström, Daniel, 2018. "How Should Capital Be Taxed? Theory and Evidence from Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 11475, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Gerritsen, Aart, 2016. "Optimal taxation when people do not maximize well-being," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 122-139.
    7. Lucy F. Ackert & Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Mark Rider, 2004. "Tax policy design in the presence of social preferences: some experimental evidence," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2004-33, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    8. Jakobsson, Niklas, 2009. "Why do you want lower taxes? Preferences regarding municipal income tax rates," Working Papers in Economics 345, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    9. Eiji Yamamura, 2014. "Trust in government and its effect on preferences for income redistribution and perceived tax burden," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 71-100, February.
    10. Kuhn, Andreas, 2015. "The Individual Perception of Wage Inequality: A Measurement Framework and Some Empirical Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 9579, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. David Heres & Steffen Kallbekken & Ibon Galarraga, 2013. "Understanding Public Support for Externality-Correcting Taxes and Subsidies: A Lab Experiment," Working Papers 2013-04, BC3.
    12. Torregrosa Hetland, Sara, 2017. "The political economy of peripheral tax reform : the Spanish fiscal transition," Lund Papers in Economic History 156, Lund University, Department of Economic History.
    13. Eiji Yamamura, 2014. "Comparing the influence of conflict on the perceptions of rich and poor: testing the hypothesis of Acemoglu and Robinson," ISER Discussion Paper 0911, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    14. Katarina Nordblom, 2011. "The complex attitudes to alcohol taxation," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(24), pages 3355-3364.
    15. David R. Heres & Steffen Kallbekken & Ibon Galarraga, 2017. "The Role of Budgetary Information in the Preference for Externality-Correcting Subsidies over Taxes: A Lab Experiment on Public Support," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 66(1), pages 1-15, January.
    16. Fredrik Carlsson & Mitesh Kataria & Elina Lampi, 2011. "Do EPA Administrators Recommend Environmental Policies That Citizens Want?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 87(1), pages 60-74.
    17. Hammar, Henrik & Jagers, Sverker C. & Nordblom, Katarina, 2006. "What explains attitudes towards tax levels? A multi-tax comparison," Working Papers in Economics 225, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    18. Kuhn, Andreas, 2015. "The Subversive Nature of Inequality: Subjective Inequality Perceptions and Attitudes to Social Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 9406, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. Andreas Kuhn, 2016. "The Subversive Nature of Inequality: Subjective Inequality Perceptions and Attitudes to Social Inequality," CESifo Working Paper Series 6023, CESifo Group Munich.
    20. Shun-ichiro Bessho & Masayoshi Hayashi, 2005. "The CES utility function, non-linear budget constraints and labor supply : results on prime-age males in Japan," Labor Economics Working Papers 21911, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    21. Fochmann, Martin & Kiesewetter, Dirk & Sadrieh, Abdolkarim, 2012. "Investment behavior and the biased perception of limited loss deduction in income taxation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 230-242.

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