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The Rise and Likely Fall of the German Income Tax, 1958–2005

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  • Giacomo Corneo

Abstract

Data from official statistics and tax laws are exploited to describe fifty years of income taxation in Germany, with a focus on its role as a fiscal and distributive tool. The temporal pattern that emerges from the data is one of a golden age of the German income tax, followed by a slow shift towards a major crisis. The turning point on the income-tax path seems to have occurred in 1986. I put forward the thesis that this downturn was the outcome of a long-term change in the balance of political power. That change is probably rooted in structural breaks that occurred in the German economy during the 1970s and early 1980s. (JEL D31, D72, H23}.

Suggested Citation

  • Giacomo Corneo, 2005. "The Rise and Likely Fall of the German Income Tax, 1958–2005," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 51(1), pages 159-186.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cesifo:v:51:y:2005:i:1:p:159-186.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cesifo/51.1.159
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Du Rietz, Gunnar & Johansson, Dan & Stenkula, Mikael, 2013. "Swedish Labor Income Taxation (1862–2013)," Working Paper Series 977, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 10 Sep 2015.
    2. repec:bas:econth:y:2012:i:4:p:26-45 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Stefan Bach & Giacomo Corneo & Viktor Steiner, 2008. "Effective Taxation of Top Incomes in Germany, 1992-2002," CESifo Working Paper Series 2233, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Bach, Stefan & Corneo, Giacomo & Steiner, Viktor, 2007. "From Bottom to Top: The Entire Distribution of Market Income in Germany, 1992-2001," CEPR Discussion Papers 6251, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Koyuncu, Murat, 2011. "Can progressive taxation account for cross-country variation in labor supply?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 1474-1488, September.
    6. Rydqvist, Kristian & Spizman, Joshua & Strebulaev, Ilya, 2011. "The evolution of aggregate stock ownership," CFS Working Paper Series 2011/18, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    7. Chang Woon Nam & Christoph Zeiner, 2015. "Effects of Bracket Creep and Tax Reform on Average Personal Income Tax Burden in Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 5626, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Stefan Bach & Giacomo Corneo & Viktor Steiner, 2005. "Top Incomes and Top Taxes in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 532, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    9. Hechtner, Frank & Massarrat-Mashhadi, Nima & Sielaff, Christian, 2012. "Eine Analyse zur Einkommensteuerbelastung und Wirkung der kalten Progression der vergangenen 20 Jahre in Deutschland," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 137, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    10. Zhu, Junyi, 2015. "Bracket creep revisited - with and without r>g: Evidence from Germany," Discussion Papers 37/2015, Deutsche Bundesbank.
    11. Rydqvist, Kristian & Spizman, Joshua & Strebulaev, Ilya, 2009. "The Evolution of Aggregate Stock Ownership---A Unified Explanation," CEPR Discussion Papers 7356, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Jenderny, Katharina, 2013. "Declining Tax Progression and the German Dual Income Tax," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80039, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    13. Scharfenkamp Katrin, 2016. "It’s About Connections – How the Economic Network of the German Federal Government Affects the Top Earners’ Average Income Tax Rate," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 236(4), pages 427-453, August.
    14. Stefan Bach & Giacomo Corneo & Viktor Steiner, 2013. "Effective Taxation of Top Incomes in Germany," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 14(2), pages 115-137, May.
    15. Margit Schratzenstaller, 2015. "The Tax Reform 2015-16 – Measures and Overall Assessment," WIFO Bulletin, WIFO, vol. 20(20), pages 222-237, December.
    16. Corneo, Giacomo, 2013. "Die relative Bezahlung der Hochqualifizierten in Staat und Privatwirtschaft: Deutschland, 1977-2011," Discussion Papers 2013/19, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    17. Peter Haan, 2007. "Intertemporal Labor Supply Effects of Tax Reforms," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 669, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    18. Kristian Rydqvist & Joshua Spizman & Ilya A. Strebulaev, 2011. "Government Policy and Ownership of Financial Assets," NBER Working Papers 17522, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Stefan Bach, 2013. "Kirchhof oder Hollande: wie hoch soll der Spitzensteuersatz in Deutschland sein?," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 82(1), pages 77-99.
    20. Margit Schratzenstaller & Andreas Wagener, 2009. "The Austrian income tax tariff, 1955–2006," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 309-330, August.
    21. Johannes Becker & Clemens Fuest, 2007. "Steuerpolitische Perspektiven der Unternehmensteuerreform 2008," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 76(2), pages 39-48.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

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