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The Elasticity of Taxable Income in New Zealand

  • Iris Claus
  • John Creedy
  • Josh Teng

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. Generally it was higher for men than for women. 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. Furthermore, for the top bracket the marginal tax rate was often found to exceed the revenue-maximising tax rate.

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Article provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its journal Fiscal Studies.

Volume (Year): 33 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (09)
Pages: 287-303

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Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:33:y:2012:i:3:p:287-303
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  1. 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.
  2. J. Barkley Rosser, 2009. "Introduction," Chapters, in: Handbook of Research on Complexity, chapter 1 Edward Elgar.
  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. 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, 06.
  5. Giertz, Seth, 2004. "Recent Literature on Taxable-Income Elasticities," MPRA Paper 16159, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. 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 551-72, June.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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. 0, pages 5-34, May.
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