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Taxation and the Superrich

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  • Florian Scheuer
  • Joel Slemrod

Abstract

This paper addresses the modern optimal tax progressivity literature, which clarifies the key role of the behavioral response to taxation and accounts for the incomes of the superrich being qualitatively different than others. Some may be “superstars,” for whom small differences in talent are magnified into much larger earnings differences, while others may work in winner-take-all markets, such that their effort to climb the ladder of success reduces the returns to others. We stress that pivotal tax-rate elasticities are not structural parameters, and will be smaller the broader and less plastic is the tax base and the more effective is the enforcement of tax evasion. For this reason, normative analysis of tax rates should be accompanied by attention to the tax base, with special attention to capital gains, which comprise a large fraction of the taxable income of the superrich.

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  • Florian Scheuer & Joel Slemrod, 2019. "Taxation and the Superrich," CESifo Working Paper Series 7817, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_7817
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    Cited by:

    1. Bjørneby, Marie & Markussen, Simen & Røed, Knut, 2020. "Does the Wealth Tax Kill Jobs?," IZA Discussion Papers 13766, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Haufler, Andreas & Perroni, Carlo, 2020. "Incentives, Globalization, and Redistribution," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 492, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    3. Florian Scheuer & Joel Slemrod, 2021. "Taxing Our Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 207-230, Winter.
    4. Haufler, Andreas & Perroni, Carlo, 2020. "Incentives, Globalization, and Redistribution," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 492, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    5. Advani, Arun & Summers, Andy, 2022. "Measuring and taxing top incomes and wealth," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 1403, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    6. Cerniauskas Nerijus & Jousten Alain, 2021. "Statutory, effective, and optimal net tax schedules in Lithuania," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Sciendo & Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 11(1), pages 1-33, May.
    7. Spencer Bastani & Daniel Waldenström, 2020. "How Should Capital Be Taxed?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(4), pages 812-846, September.
    8. Björn Döhring & Atanas Hristov & Christoph Maier & Werner Roeger & Anna Thum-Thysen, 2021. "COVID-19 acceleration in digitalisation, aggregate productivity growth and the functional income distribution," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 571-604, July.
    9. Arun Advani & Hannah Tarrant, 2021. "Behavioural responses to a wealth tax," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 42(3-4), pages 509-537, September.
    10. Fischer, Leonie & Heckemeyer, Jost H. & Spengel, Christoph & Steinbrenner, Daniela, 2021. "Tax policies in a transition to a knowledge-based economy: The effective tax burden of companies and highly skilled labour," ZEW Discussion Papers 21-096, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    11. Joshua D. Gottlieb & Maria Polyakova & Kevin Rinz & Hugh Shiplett & Victoria Udalova, 2020. "Who Values Human Capitalists' Human Capital? Healthcare Spending and Physician Earnings," Working Papers 20-23, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    12. Owusu Benjamin, 2021. "Fiscal Sustainability Hypothesis Test in Central and Eastern Europe: A Panel Data Perspective," Central European Economic Journal, Sciendo, vol. 8(55), pages 285-312, January.
    13. Dominik Bernhofer & Michael Ertl & Katharina Bohnenberger & Franziska Disslbacher & Julia Hofmann & Petra Innreiter & Markus Marterbauer & Patrick Mokre & Matthias Schnetzer, 2022. "Tax me if you can. Potenziale moderner Vermögensbesteuerung in Österreich," Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft - WuG, Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Wien, Abteilung Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Statistik, vol. 48(2), pages 207-230.
    14. Marius Leckelt & Johannes König & David Richter & Mitja D. Back & Carsten Schröder, 2022. "The personality traits of self-made and inherited millionaires," Palgrave Communications, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 9(1), pages 1-12, December.
    15. Kristoffer Berg & Shafik Hebous, 2021. "Does A Wealth Tax Improve Equality of Opportunity?," CESifo Working Paper Series 9174, CESifo.
    16. Advani, Arun & Tarrant, Hannah, 2021. "Behavioural responses to a wealth tax," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 577, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    superrich; tax systems; superstars; winter-take-all markets; plasticity of taxable income; wealth taxes;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General

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