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Tax Burden and the Mismeasurement of State Tax Policy

Author

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  • W. Robert Reed

    (University of Canterbury, New Zealand)

  • Cynthia L. Rogers

    (University of Oklahoma)

Abstract

Tax Burden, defined as the ratio of total tax revenues over personal income, is frequently used to measure state tax policy. The authors analyze the empirical relationship between changes in Tax Burden and changes in tax policies from 1987 to 2000 using states’ forecasts of revenue impacts of new tax legislation. Their two major findings have important implications. First, they demonstrate that income-induced, nontax policy changes are a significant determinant of changes in Tax Burden. These income effects are likely to cause misinterpretation when Tax Burden is used as a variable in economic growth regressions. Second, they estimate that approximately half of the total variation in Tax Burden is due to changes in nontax policy factors. This finding quantifies the extent of the “mismeasurement†problem that has been discussed, but not analyzed, in previous literature. In concluding, the authors promote the use of alternative approaches for estimating the economic effects of taxes.

Suggested Citation

  • W. Robert Reed & Cynthia L. Rogers, 2006. "Tax Burden and the Mismeasurement of State Tax Policy," Public Finance Review, , vol. 34(4), pages 404-426, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:34:y:2006:i:4:p:404-426
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Reed, W. Robert, 2008. "The Robust Relationship Between Taxes and U.S. State Income Growth," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 61(1), pages 57-80, March.
    2. Richard Funderburg & Timothy J. Bartik & Alan H. Peters & Peter S. Fisher, 2013. "The Impact Of Marginal Business Taxes On State Manufacturing," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(4), pages 557-582, October.
    3. Reed, W. Robert, 2006. "Democrats, republicans, and taxes: Evidence that political parties matter," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 725-750, May.
    4. Rogers, Cynthia L. & Wu, Chen, 2012. "Employment by foreign firms in the U.S.: Do state incentives matter?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 664-680.
    5. W. Robert Reed & Cynthia L. Rogers & Mark Skidmore, 2008. "On Estimating Marginal Tax Rates and Tax Progressivities for U.S. States," Working Papers in Economics 08/17, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax policy; fiscal policy; Tax Burden; state economic development; tax rates;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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