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"Success Taxes," Entrepreneurial Entry, and Innovation

In: Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 5

  • William M. Gentry
  • R. Glenn Hubbard

Interest in the role of entrepreneurial entry in innovation raises the question of the extent to which tax policy encourages or discourages entry. We find that, while the level of the marginal tax rate has a negative effect in entrepreneurial entry, the progressivity of the tax also discourages entrepreneurship, and significantly so for some groups of households. These effects are principally traceable to the upside' or success' convexity of the household tax schedule. Prospective entrants from a priori innovative industries and occupations are no less affected by the considerations we examine than other prospective entrants. In terms of destination-based industry and occupation measures of innovative entrepreneurs, we find mixed evidence on whether innovative entrepreneurs differ from the general population; the results for entrepreneurs moving to innovative industries suggest that they may be unaffected by tax convexity but the possible endogeneity of this measure of innovative entrepreneurs confounds interpreting this specification. Using education as a measure of potential for innovation, we find that tax convexity discourages entry into self-employment for people of all educational backgrounds. Overall, we find little evidence that the tax effects are focused simply on the employment changes of less skilled or less promising potential entrants.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Adam B. Jaffe & Josh Lerner & Scott Stern, 2005. "Innovation Policy and the Economy, Volume 5," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number jaff05-1, August.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 10808.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:10808
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. Roger H. Gordon & Julie Berry Cullen, 2002. "Taxes and Entrepreneurial Activity: Theory and Evidence for the U.S," NBER Working Papers 9015, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Guenther, David A. & Willenborg, Michael, 1999. "Capital gains tax rates and the cost of capital for small business: evidence from the IPO market," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 385-408, September.
    3. Blau, David M, 1987. "A Time-Series Analysis of Self-employment in the United State," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 445-67, June.
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    5. Hall, Bronwyn & Van Reenen, John, 2000. "How effective are fiscal incentives for R&D? A review of the evidence," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4-5), pages 449-469, April.
    6. Jon Gruber & Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income: Evidence and Implications," NBER Working Papers 7512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Robert Carroll & Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Mark Rider & Harvey S. Rosen, 1998. "Entrepreneurs, Income Taxes, and Investment," NBER Working Papers 6374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Quadrini, Vincenzo, 1999. "The Importance of Entrepreneurship for Wealth Concentration and Mobility," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 45(1), pages 1-19, March.
    9. Bruce, Donald, 2000. "Effects of the United States tax system on transitions into self-employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 545-574, September.
    10. Rosanne Altshuler & Alan J. Auerbach, 1987. "The Significance of Tax Law Asymmetries: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 2279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. James M. Poterba, 1989. "Venture Capital and Capital Gains Taxation," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 3, pages 47-68 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Daniel Feenberg & Elisabeth Coutts, 1993. "An introduction to the TAXSIM model," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 189-194.
    13. Herb J. Schuetze, . "Taxes, Economic Conditions And Recent Trends in Male Self-Employment: A Canada-U.S. Comparison," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 11, McMaster University.
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