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The Elasticity of Taxable Income in New Zealand

Author

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  • Iris Claus
  • John Creedy
  • Josh Teng

Abstract

This paper reports estimates of the elasticity of taxable income with respect to the net-of-tax rate for New Zealand taxpayers. The relative stability of the New Zealand personal income tax system, in terms of marginal rates, thresholds and the tax base, provides helpful conditions for deriving these estimates. The elasticity of taxable income was estimated to be substantially higher for the highest income groups. Changes in the timing of income flows for the higher income recipients were found to be an important response to the announcement of a new higher-rate bracket. The marginal welfare costs of personal income taxation were consistent across years, being relatively small for all but the higher tax brackets. For the top marginal rate bracket of 39 per cent, the welfare cost of raising an extra dollar of tax revenue was estimated to be well in excess of a dollar.
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Suggested Citation

  • Iris Claus & John Creedy & Josh Teng, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income in New Zealand," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 33(3), pages 287-303, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:33:y:2012:i:3:p:287-303
    DOI: j.1475-5890.2012.00162.x
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1475-5890.2012.00162.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lewis Evans & Arthur Grimes & Bryce Wilkinson, 1996. "Economic Reform in New Zealand 1984-95: The Pursuit of Efficiency," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1856-1902, December.
    2. Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the 1986 Tax Reform Act," Scholarly Articles 2766676, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    3. Lindsey, Lawrence B., 1987. "Individual taxpayer response to tax cuts: 1982-1984 : With implications for the revenue maximizing tax rate," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 173-206, July.
    4. Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "The Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the 1986 Tax Reform Act," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 551-572, June.
    5. Emmanuel Saez & Joel Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 3-50, March.
    6. Giertz, Seth, 2004. "Recent Literature on Taxable-Income Elasticities," MPRA Paper 16159, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. John Creedy & Nicolas Hérault & Guyonne Kalb, 2007. "Comparing Welfare Change Measures with Income Change Measures in Behavioural Policy Simulations," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2007n21, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    8. John Creedy & Nicolas Hérault & Guyonne Kalb, 2011. "Measuring welfare changes in behavioural microsimulation modelling: Accounting for the random utility component," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 14, pages 5-34, May.
    9. Jorge Onrubia?Fernández & José Félix Sanz?Sanz, 2009. "Reported Taxable Income and Marginal Tax Rates: Evidence for Spain Based on the Fiscal Drag," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1075, The University of Melbourne.
    10. A. B. Atkinson & Andrew Leigh, 2008. "Top Incomes In New Zealand 1921-2005: Understanding The Effects Of Marginal Tax Rates, Migration Threat, And The Macroeconomy," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 54(2), pages 149-165, June.
    11. J. Barkley Rosser, 2009. "Introduction," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research on Complexity, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. A. B Atkinson & Andrew Leigh, 2013. "The Distribution of Top Incomes in Five Anglo-Saxon Countries Over the Long Run," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 89, pages 31-47, June.
    2. Creedy, John & Mok, Penny, 2017. "The Marginal welfare cost of personal income taxation in New Zealand," Working Paper Series 6557, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.
    3. Atala M. Qtish & Adel M. Qatawneh, 2015. "Critical Examination of the Impact of E-Government on the Income Tax Collections: A Case Study in the Income and Sales Tax Department of Jordan," International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, vol. 5(4), pages 27-36, April.
    4. John Creedy & Norman Gemmell, 2011. "Tax Rates and Revenue Changes: Behavioural and Structural Factors," Treasury Working Paper Series 11/05, New Zealand Treasury.
    5. John Creedy, 2015. "The elasticity of taxable income, welfare changes and optimal tax rates," New Zealand Economic Papers, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(3), pages 227-248, August.
    6. Arrazola, María & de Hevia, José & Romero, Desiderio & Sanz-Sanz, José Félix, 2014. "Personal Income Tax Reforms and the Elasticity of Reported Income to Marginal Tax Rates: An Empirical Analysis Applied to Spain," Working Paper Series 3593, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.
    7. Carey, Simon & Creedy, John & Gemmell, Norman & Teng, Josh, 2012. "Regression Estimates of the Elasticity of Taxable Income and the Choice of Instrument," Working Paper Series 2429, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.
    8. John Creedy & Norman Gemmell, 2013. "Measuring revenue responses to tax rate changes in multi-rate income tax systems: behavioural and structural factors," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(6), pages 974-991, December.
    9. Carlos DÌaz Caro & Jorge Onrubia Fern·ndez, 2015. "Elasticidades de la renta gravable y costes de eficiencia en el IRPF dual," Studies on the Spanish Economy eee2015-02, FEDEA.
    10. Creedy, John & Gemmell, Norman, 2012. "Revenue-Maximising Elasticities of Taxable Income in Multi-Rate Income Tax Structures," Working Paper Series 2431, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.
    11. José Félix Sanz-Sanz & María Arrazola-Vacas & Nuria Rueda-López & Desiderio Romero-Jordán, 2015. "Reported gross income and marginal tax rates: estimation of the behavioural reactions of Spanish taxpayers," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(5), pages 466-484, January.
    12. Ball, Christopher & Creedy, John, 2015. "Inequality in New Zealand 1983/84 to 2013/14," Working Paper Series 4665, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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