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Are we taxing ourselves?

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  • Sausgruber, Rupert
  • Tyran, Jean-Robert

Abstract

We let consumers vote on tax regimes in experimental markets. We test if taxes on sellers are more popular than taxes on consumers, i.e. on voters themselves, even if taxes on sellers are inefficiently high. Taxes on sellers are more popular if voters underestimate the extent of tax-shifting in the market. We show that inexperienced voters are prone to such a tax-shifting bias, that experience is an effective de-biasing mechanism, but that pre-vote deliberation about tax regimes makes initially held opinions more extreme rather than correct. Our results suggest that voting on taxes is prone to bias and that easy-to-interpret facts are needed to de-bias voters.

Suggested Citation

  • Sausgruber, Rupert & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2011. "Are we taxing ourselves?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 164-176.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:1:p:164-176
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2010.10.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Fochmann & Joachim Weimann, 2013. "The Effects of Tax Salience and Tax Experience on Individual Work Efforts in a Framed Field Experiment," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 69(4), pages 511-542, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax-shifting; Tax liability side equivalence; Learning; Deliberation; Voting;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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