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Effective Tax Rates and Effective Progressivity in a Fiscally Decentralized Country

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  • Marcus Roller
  • Kurt Schmidheiny

Abstract

This paper proposes measures to quantify the effective level and the effective progressivity of taxation in a fiscally decentralized country taking income sorting into account. Using data on the universe of Swiss taxpayers, we find that rich households effectively face significantly lower average and marginal tax rates and lower progressivity than in the benchmark case that does not consider income sorting. This is because high-income households systematically avoid high taxation by locating in low-tax jurisdictions. The results are stronger for singles than for families, indicating that singles are more sensitive to spatial tax differentials than families. Although income tax schedules of the Swiss federation, the 26 cantons and the more than 2,600 municipalities are all strictly progressive, the effectively paid country-wide average tax rate is regressive for households with very high incomes and without children. The proposed measure of the effective average and marginal tax rates also allows us to adequately describe the evolution of the country-wide tax burden over time. We document that about half of the reduction in the tax burden on top incomes between 1975 and 2009 is due to reductions in statutory tax rates and about half to stronger income sorting of the population. Our results also hold when we account for the disutility from housing prices into which tax rates capitalize.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcus Roller & Kurt Schmidheiny, 2016. "Effective Tax Rates and Effective Progressivity in a Fiscally Decentralized Country," CESifo Working Paper Series 5834, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_5834
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Hans Pitlik & Christina Seyfried, 2016. "Tax Autonomy of the Swiss Cantons: A Model for Austria?," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 89(6), pages 423-435, June.
    2. Frey, Christian & Schaltegger, Christoph A., 2016. "Progressive taxes and top income shares: A historical perspective on pre- and post-tax income concentration in Switzerland," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 5-9.
    3. David Staubli, 2018. "The Elasticity of Corporate Income: Panel Data Evidence from Switzerland," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 18.01, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
    4. repec:ses:arsjes:2017-ii-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Martinez, Isabel Z., 2016. "Beggar-Thy-Neighbour Tax Cuts: Mobility after a Local Income and Wealth Tax Reform in Switzerland," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145643, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Foellmi, Reto & Martinez, Isabel Z., 2017. "Die Verteilung von Einkommen und Vermögen in der Schweiz
      [The Distribution of Income and Wealth in Switzerland]
      ," MPRA Paper 84443, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. repec:spr:sjecst:v:153:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_bf03399435 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    effective tax rates; progressive taxation; fiscal decentralization; income segregation;

    JEL classification:

    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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