IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/ucp/tpolec/doi10.1086-691084.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Taxing the Rich More: Preliminary Evidence from the 2013 Tax Increase

Author

Listed:
  • Emmanuel Saez

Abstract

This paper provides preliminary evidence on behavioral responses to taxation around the 2013 tax increase that raised top marginal tax rates on capital income by about 9.5 points and on labor income by about 6.5 points. Using published tabulated tax statistics from the Statistics of Income division of the IRS, we find that reported top 1% incomes were significantly higher in 2012 than in 2013, implying a large short-run elasticity of reported income with respect to the net-of-tax rate in excess of one. This large short-run elasticity is due to income retiming for tax avoidance purposes and is particularly high for realized capital gains and dividends, and highest at the very top of the income distribution. However, comparing 2011 and 2015 top incomes uncovers only a small medium-term response to the tax increase as top income shares resumed their upward trend after 2013. Overall, we estimate that at most 20% of the projected tax revenue increase from the 2013 tax reform is lost through behavioral responses. This implies that the 2013 tax increase was an efficient way to raise revenue.

Suggested Citation

  • Emmanuel Saez, 2017. "Taxing the Rich More: Preliminary Evidence from the 2013 Tax Increase," Tax Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 71-120.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:tpolec:doi:10.1086/691084
    DOI: 10.1086/691084
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/691084
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/691084
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gruber, Jon & Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The elasticity of taxable income: evidence and implications," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-32, April.
    2. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Tore Olsen & Luigi Pistaferri, 2011. "Adjustment Costs, Firm Responses, and Micro vs. Macro Labor Supply Elasticities: Evidence from Danish Tax Records," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 749-804.
    3. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
    4. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2014. "Optimal Taxation of Top Labor Incomes: A Tale of Three Elasticities," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 230-271, February.
    5. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez, 2005. "Dividend Taxes and Corporate Behavior: Evidence from the 2003 Dividend Tax Cut," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 791-833.
    6. Weber, Caroline E., 2014. "Toward obtaining a consistent estimate of the elasticity of taxable income using difference-in-differences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 90-103.
    7. Austan Goolsbee, 2000. "What Happens When You Tax the Rich? Evidence from Executive Compensation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 352-378, April.
    8. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman, 2018. "Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 133(2), pages 553-609.
    9. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality in the United States, 1913–1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-41.
    10. Slemrod, Joel, 1995. "Income Creation or Income Shifting? Behavioral Responses to the Tax Reform Act of 1986," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 175-180, May.
    11. Alan J. Auerbach & Joel Slemrod, 1997. "The Economic Effects of the Tax Reform Act of 1986," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 589-632, June.
    12. Daniel R. Feenberg & James M. Poterba, 1993. "Income Inequality and the Incomes of Very High-Income Taxpayers: Evidence from Tax Returns," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 7, pages 145-177, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "The Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the 1986 Tax Reform Act," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 551-572, June.
    14. Chiaki Moriguchi & Emmanuel Saez, 2008. "The Evolution of Income Concentration in Japan, 1886-2005: Evidence from Income Tax Statistics," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 713-734, November.
    15. Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen & Schultz, Esben Anton, 2014. "Estimating taxable income responses using Danish tax reforms," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 66122, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    16. Lindsey, Lawrence B., 1987. "Individual taxpayer response to tax cuts: 1982-1984 : With implications for the revenue maximizing tax rate," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 173-206, July.
    17. Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "The Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the 1986 Tax Reform Act," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 551-572, June.
    18. Emmanuel Saez & Joel Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 3-50, March.
    19. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Esben Anton Schultz, 2014. "Estimating Taxable Income Responses Using Danish Tax Reforms," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 271-301, November.
    20. Bakija, Jon & Heim, Bradley T., 2011. "How Does Charitable Giving Respond to Incentives and Income? New Estimates From Panel Data," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 64(2), pages 615-650, June.
    21. Gerald E. Auten & Holger Sieg & Charles T. Clotfelter, 2002. "Charitable Giving, Income, and Taxes: An Analysis of Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 371-382, March.
    22. Gerald Auten & David Splinter & Susan Nelson, 2016. "Reactions of High-Income Taxpayers to Major Tax Legislation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 69(4), pages 935-964, December.
    23. Alan J. Auerbach, 1988. "Capital Gains Taxation in the United States: Realizations, Revenue, and Rhetoric," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 595-638.
    24. Clotfelter, Charles T., 1985. "Federal Tax Policy and Charitable Giving," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226110486, March.
    25. Charles T. Clotfelter, 1985. "Federal Tax Policy and Charitable Giving," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number clot85-1, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Carina Neisser, 2021. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income: A Meta-Regression Analysis," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 067, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    2. Florian Scheuer & Joel Slemrod, 2019. "Taxation and the Superrich," CESifo Working Paper Series 7817, CESifo.
    3. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman, 2018. "Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 133(2), pages 553-609.
    4. James Andreoni, 2018. "The Benefits and Costs of Donor-Advised Funds," Tax Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 1-44.
    5. Diego Daruich, 2018. "The Macroeconomic Consequences of Early Childhood Development Policies," Working Papers 2018-010, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    6. Ligia Alba Melo-Becerra & Héctor Zárate-Solano & Andrés Camilo Gómez-Molina, 2018. "Elasticidad del ingreso corporativo gravable en Colombia," Borradores de Economia 1046, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    7. Elliott Isaac, 2018. "Suddenly Married: Joint Taxation And The Labor Supply Of Same-Sex Married Couples After U.S. v. Windsor," Working Papers 1809, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    8. Saez, Emmanuel & Stantcheva, Stefanie, 2018. "A simpler theory of optimal capital taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 120-142.
    9. Joshua Rauh & Ryan J. Shyu, 2019. "Behavioral Responses to State Income Taxation of High Earners: Evidence from California," NBER Working Papers 26349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Diego Daruich, 2017. "From Childhood to Adult Inequality: Parental Investments and Early Childhood Development," 2017 Meeting Papers 770, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Emmanuel Saez & Joel Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 3-50, March.
    2. Enrico Rubolino & Daniel Waldenström, 2019. "Trends and gradients in top tax elasticities: cross-country evidence, 1900–2014," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 26(3), pages 457-485, June.
    3. Philipp Doerrenberg & Andreas Peichl & Sebastian Siegloch, 2017. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income in the Presence of Deduction Possibilities," NBER Chapters, in: Personal Income Taxation and Household Behavior (TAPES), National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Carina Neisser, 2017. "The elasticity of taxable income: A meta-regression analysis," Working Papers 2017/10, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    5. Kristoffer Berg & Thor O. Thoresen, 2020. "Problematic response margins in the estimation of the elasticity of taxable income," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 27(3), pages 721-752, June.
    6. Jarkko Harju & Tuomas Matikka, 2016. "The elasticity of taxable income and income-shifting: what is “real” and what is not?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(4), pages 640-669, August.
    7. Michaël Sicsic, 2020. "Does Labor Income React more to Income Tax or Means-Tested Benefit Reforms?," TEPP Working Paper 2020-03, TEPP.
    8. Tuomas Matikka, 2018. "Elasticity of Taxable Income: Evidence from Changes in Municipal Income Tax Rates in Finland," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 120(3), pages 943-973, July.
    9. Miguel Almunia & David Lopez-Rodriguez, 2019. "The elasticity of taxable income in Spain: 1999–2014," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 281-320, November.
    10. Frydman, Carola & Molloy, Raven S., 2011. "Does tax policy affect executive compensation? Evidence from postwar tax reforms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1425-1437.
    11. Emmanuel Saez, 2004. "Reported Incomes and Marginal Tax Rates, 1960-2000: Evidence and Policy Implications," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 18, pages 117-174, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Doerrenberg, Philipp & Peichl, Andreas & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2014. "Sufficient Statistic or Not? The Elasticity of Taxable Income in the Presence of Deduction Possibilities," IZA Discussion Papers 8554, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    13. Enrico Rubolino & Daniel Waldenström, 2020. "Tax progressivity and top incomes evidence from tax reforms," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 18(3), pages 261-289, September.
    14. Kumar, Anil & Liang, Che-Yuan, 2020. "Estimating taxable income responses with elasticity heterogeneity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 188(C).
    15. Laun, Lisa, 2017. "The effect of age-targeted tax credits on labor force participation of older workers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 102-118.
    16. Raj Chetty, 2009. "Is the Taxable Income Elasticity Sufficient to Calculate Deadweight Loss? The Implications of Evasion and Avoidance," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 31-52, August.
    17. Zhiyong An, 2015. "On the sufficiency of using the elasticity of taxable income to calculate deadweight loss: the implications of charitable giving and warm glow," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(6), pages 1040-1047, December.
    18. Enrico Rubolino & Daniel Waldenström, 0. "Tax progressivity and top incomes evidence from tax reforms," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 0, pages 1-29.
    19. Katrine Marie Jakobsen & Jakob Egholt Søgaard, 2020. "Identifying Behavioral Responses to Tax Reforms: New Insights and a New Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 8686, CESifo.
    20. James Andreoni, 2018. "The Benefits and Costs of Donor-Advised Funds," Tax Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 1-44.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:tpolec:doi:10.1086/691084. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division). General contact details of provider: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/TPE .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.