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Reduced Tax Progressivity in Norway in the Nineties: The Effect from Tax Changes

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  • Thor O. Thoresen

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Abstract

The inequality in pre-tax income increased in Norway in the 1990s, while the concentration of taxes remained largely unaltered. This means that tax progressivity has decreased in the period, as measured by summary indices of tax progressivity. In this paper I analyze individual income data to ascertain whether tax changes in the period can explain the observed decrease in tax progressivity. As marginal tax rates at high income levels have been substantially reduced in the period, for instance through the tax reform of 1992, it is expected that tax changes may have influenced the degree of inequality in pre-tax incomes. This behavioral effect is examined by deriving estimates of the elasticity of gross income with respect to the net-of-tax rate, obtained from various panel data regressions. The tax changes may also have shifted the distributional burden of taxes for unaltered level of pre-tax income inequality. In order to identify this (direct) effect of tax-law alterations, the same fixed distribution of pre-tax income is exposed to various tax-laws in the period.

Suggested Citation

  • Thor O. Thoresen, 2004. "Reduced Tax Progressivity in Norway in the Nineties: The Effect from Tax Changes," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 11(4), pages 487-506, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:11:y:2004:i:4:p:487-506
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Karl Ove Aarbu & Thor Olav Thoresen, 1997. "The Norwegian Tax Reform; Distributional Effects and the High-income Response," Discussion Papers 207, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    2. John Bishop & K. Chow & John Formby & Chih-Chin Ho, 1997. "Did Tax Reform Reduce Actual US Progressivity? Evidence from the Taxpayer Compliance Measurement Program," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 4(2), pages 177-197, May.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Miyazaki, Takeshi & Kitamura, Yukinobu, 2014. "Redistributive Effects of Income Tax Rates and Tax Base 1984-2009: Evidence from Japanese Tax Reforms," Discussion Paper Series 610, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    2. Thor O. Thoresen & Annette Alstadsæter, 2010. "Shifts in Organizational Form under a Dual Income Tax System," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 66(4), pages 384-418, December.
    3. Olivier Bargain & Tim Callan, 2010. "Analysing the effects of tax-benefit reforms on income distribution: a decomposition approach," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 8(1), pages 1-21, March.
    4. Abdelkrim Araar, 2008. "Social Classes, Inequality and Redistributive Policies in Canada," Cahiers de recherche 0817, CIRPEE.
    5. Annette Alstadsæter & Erik Fjærli, 2009. "Neutral taxation of shareholder income? Corporate responses to an announced dividend tax," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 16(4), pages 571-604, August.
    6. Olivier Bargain, 2009. "The distributional effects of tax-benefit policies under New Labour : a Shapley decomposition," Working Papers 200907, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    7. Annette Alstadsæter & Knut Reidar Wangen, 2008. "Corporations’ Choice of Tax Regime when Transition Costs are Small and Income Shifting Potential is Large," CESifo Working Paper Series 2392, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Thor O. Thoresen & Zhiyang Jia & Peter J. Lambert, 2013. "Distributional benchmarking in tax policy evaluations," Discussion Papers 765, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    9. Timothy Neal, 2013. "Using Panel Co-Integration Methods To Understand Rising Top Income Shares," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 89(284), pages 83-98, March.
    10. Peter J. Lambert & Runa Nesbakken & Thor O. Thoresen, 2011. "On the meaning and measurement of redistribution in cross-country comparisons," Discussion Papers 649, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    11. Luis Huesca Reynoso & Abdelkrim Araar, 2016. "Comparison of fiscal system progressivity over time: theory and application in Mexico," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 31(1), pages 3-45.
    12. Annette Alstadsaeter, 2007. "The Achilles Heel of the Dual Income Tax: The Norwegian Case," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 5-22, Spring.
    13. Moździerz Anna, 2015. "Tax Policy and Income Inequality in the Visegrad Countries," Naše gospodarstvo/Our economy, De Gruyter Open, vol. 61(6), pages 12-18, December.
    14. Peter Lambert & Thor Thoresen & Runa Nesbakken, 2010. "On the Meaning and Measurement of Redistribution in Cross-Country Comparisons," LIS Working papers 532, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    15. Olivier Bargain, 2012. "Decomposition analysis of distributive policies using behavioural simulations," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(5), pages 708-731, October.

    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
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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