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Tax exporting, federal deductibility, and state tax structure


  • Gilbert E. Metcalf

    (Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics, Princeton University, and Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research)


This paper studies the interaction between the federal and state tax systems during the 1980s and, in particular, considers how the Tax Reform Act of 1986 affected state tax structure. Using a panel data set on state governments over a nine-year period, I estimate tax share equations for six categories of taxes. I find that the state personal income tax is sensitive to changes in its tax price, but find a much smaller sensitivity to changes in tax prices for the general sales tax. I then consider various reasons why the sales tax does not exhibit a sensitivity to changes in tax price and consider the implications of these results for policymakers. The regression results suggest that different income groups are concerned with different tax instruments. Moreover, the results motivate a possible benefit approach to taxation at the state level. Linking taxes, about which a particular income group is most concerned, to services received by that group might generate additional political support for state tax systems during a time when many states are facing fiscal crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Gilbert E. Metcalf, 1993. "Tax exporting, federal deductibility, and state tax structure," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 109-126.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:12:y:1993:i:1:p:109-126
    DOI: 10.2307/3325465

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Courant, Paul N & Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1987. "Tax Reform: Implications for the State-Local Public Sector," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 87-100, Summer.
    2. Metcalf, Gilbert E., 1992. "Deductibility and optimal state and local fiscal policy," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 217-221, June.
    3. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Harvey S . Rosen, 1988. "Tax Deductibility and Municipal Budget Structure," NBER Chapters,in: Fiscal Federalism: Quantitative Studies, pages 107-136 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Metcalf, G.E., 1991. "The Role Of Federal Taxation In The Supply Of Municipal Bonds: Evidence From Municipal Governments," Papers 72, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - John M. Olin Program.
    5. Feldstein, Martin S & Metcalf, Gilbert E, 1987. "The Effect of Federal Tax Deductibility on State and Local Taxes and Spending," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(4), pages 710-736, August.
    6. Due, John F. & Mikesell, John L., 1983. "Sales taxation : Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 83-84.
    7. Andrew Reschovsky & Howard Chernick, 1989. "Federal Tex Reform and the Taxation of Urban Residents," Public Finance Review, , vol. 17(2), pages 123-157, April.
    8. Lawrence Lindsey, 1988. "Federal Deductibility of State and Local Taxes: A Test of Public Choice by Representative Government," NBER Chapters,in: Fiscal Federalism: Quantitative Studies, pages 137-176 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Arnott, Richard & Grieson, Ronald E., 1981. "Optimal fiscal policy for a state or local government," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 23-48, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zsolt Becsi, 1998. "Fiscal competition and reality: A time series approach," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 98-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    2. Lars P Feld & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "State and local taxation," Economics working papers 2000-05, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    3. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1996. "Fundamental Tax Reform and State and Local Governments," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(3), pages 475-86, September.
    4. Inman, Robert P. & Rubinfeld, Daniel L., 1996. "Designing tax policy in federalist economies: An overview," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 307-334, June.
    5. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1996. "Fundamental Tax Reform and State and Local Governments," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 49(3), pages 475-486, September.
    6. John M. Foster, 2014. "Tax Exporting and the Business Share of Sales Tax Levies," Public Budgeting & Finance, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(4), pages 80-99, December.

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