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Can High Personal Tax Rates Encourage Entrepreneurial Activity?

Author

Listed:
  • Roger H. Gordon

    (International Monetary Fund)

Abstract

When the top personal tax rates are above the corporate rate, high income individuals have an incentive to reclassify their earnings as corporate rather than personal income for tax purposes. At least U.S. tax law imposes strict limits on the extent to which employees in publicly traded corporations can engage in such income shifting. However, entrepreneurs setting up new firms can easily reclassify their income for tax purposes. This tax incentive therefore favors entrepreneurial activity. In the United States, these tax incentives were huge during the 1950s and 1960s, though they have been much smaller since then.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger H. Gordon, 1998. "Can High Personal Tax Rates Encourage Entrepreneurial Activity?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 45(1), pages 49-80, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:imfstp:v:45:y:1998:i:1:p:49-80
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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