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No Country for Old Men (Or Women) — Do State Tax Policies Drive Away the Elderly?


  • Conway, Karen Smith
  • Rork, Jonathan C.


Over the last 40 years, state income tax breaks targeting the elderly have grown, often justified by arguments that the elderly move across state lines in response to such tax preferences. Using two complementary sources of elderly migration data and several measures of elderly income tax breaks, we investigate the relationship between these tax breaks and migration. We employ different empirical methodologies that emphasize changes over time, including panel regression models spanning four censuses (1970–2000), and several different socioeconomic groups of elderly. Our results are overwhelming in their failure to reveal any consistent effect of state income tax breaks on elderly interstate migration.

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  • Conway, Karen Smith & Rork, Jonathan C., 2012. "No Country for Old Men (Or Women) — Do State Tax Policies Drive Away the Elderly?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 65(2), pages 313-356, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:65:y:2012:i:2:p:313-56

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Karen Smith Conway & Andrew J. Houtenville, 2003. "Out with the Old, In with the Old: A Closer Look at Younger Versus Older Elderly Migration," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 84(2), pages 309-328.
    2. Young, Cristobal & Varner, Charles, 2011. "Millionaire Migration and State Taxation of Top Incomes: Evidence From a Natural Experiment," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 64(2), pages 255-283, June.
    3. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
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    5. Jon Bakija & Joel Slemrod, 2004. "Do the Rich Flee from High State Taxes? Evidence from Federal Estate Tax Returns," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-12, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    6. Farnham, Martin & Sevak, Purvi, 2006. "State fiscal institutions and empty-nest migration: Are Tiebout voters hobbled?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(3), pages 407-427, February.
    7. Daniel Feenberg & Elisabeth Coutts, 1993. "An introduction to the TAXSIM model," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 189-194.
    8. Jon Bakija, 2006. "Documentation for a Comprehensive Historical U.S. Federal and State Income Tax Calculator Program," Department of Economics Working Papers 2006-02, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Aug 2009.
    9. Fields, Gary S, 1979. "Place-to-Place Migration: Some New Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 61(1), pages 21-32, February.
    10. Frees, Edward W, 1992. "Forecasting State-to-State Migration Rates," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 10(2), pages 153-167, April.
    11. J. Trent Alexander & Michael Davern & Betsey Stevenson, 2010. "Inaccurate age and sex data in the Census PUMS files: Evidence and Implications," NBER Working Papers 15703, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Anderson, James E, 1979. "A Theoretical Foundation for the Gravity Equation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 106-116, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brülhart, Marius & Parchet, Raphaël, 2014. "Alleged tax competition: The mysterious death of bequest taxes in Switzerland," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 63-78.
    2. Onder, Ali Sina & Schlunk, Herwig, 2015. "State Taxes, Tax Exemptions, and Elderly Migration," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 45(1).
    3. Marius Brülhart & Raphaël Parchet, 2010. "Alleged Tax Competition: The Mysterious Death of InheritanceTaxes in Switzerland," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 10.04, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
    4. Johnson, Erik & Walsh, Randall, 2013. "The effect of property taxes on vacation home growth rates: Evidence from Michigan," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 740-750.
    5. Karen Smith Conway & Jonathan C. Rork, 2016. "How Has Elderly Migration Changed in the Twenty-First Century? What the Data Can—and Cannot—Tell Us," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(4), pages 1011-1025, August.

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