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An Empirical Model of Tax Convexity and Self-Employment

  • Jean-Francois Wen

    (University of Calgary)

  • Daniel V. Gordon

Do progressive marginal income tax rates discourage self-employment? We assume risk neutrality to construct an implicit surtax on stochastic income relative to steady income, arising from a convex tax schedule. It is computed as part of a structural probit model with earnings equations and a tax simulator. The tax convexity variable and the net-of-tax income difference between self- and paid employment have the predicted signs and high levels of statistical significance for the probability of self-employment. A simulated flat tax reform suggests the tax effects are small. © 2014 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Calgary in its series Working Papers with number 2014-33.

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Date of creation: 03 Feb 2014
Date of revision: 03 Feb 2014
Handle: RePEc:clg:wpaper:2014-33
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  1. Kihlstrom, Richard E & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1979. "A General Equilibrium Entrepreneurial Theory of Firm Formation Based on Risk Aversion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(4), pages 719-48, August.
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  3. Carol Moore & Richard Mueller, 2002. "The transition from paid to self-employment in Canada: the importance of push factors," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(6), pages 791-801.
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  6. Jakobsson, Ulf, 1976. "On the measurement of the degree of progression," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1-2), pages 161-168.
  7. Mark Stabile, 2004. "Payroll Taxes and the Decision to be Self-Employed," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 31-53, January.
  8. Martin T. Robson & Colin Wren, 1999. "Marginal and Average Tax Rates and the Incentive for Self-Employment," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 65(4), pages 757-773, April.
  9. Rees, Hedley & Shah, Anup, 1986. "An Empirical Analysis of Self-employment in the U.K," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(1), pages 95-108, January.
  10. Le, Anh T, 1999. " Empirical Studies of Self-Employment," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(4), pages 381-416, September.
  11. Cecilia García-Peñalosa & Jean-François Wen, 2008. "Redistribution and entrepreneurship with Schumpeterian growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 57-80, March.
  12. Donald Bruce & Mohammed Mohsin, 2006. "Tax Policy and Entrepreneurship: New Time Series Evidence," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 26(5), pages 409-425, 06.
  13. Ergete Ferede, 2013. "Tax progressivity and self-employment: evidence from Canadian provinces," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 141-153, January.
  14. Kanbur, S.M, 1978. "Risk Taking and Taxation : An Alternative Perspective," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 136, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  15. Lee, Lung-Fei, 1978. "Unionism and Wage Rates: A Simultaneous Equations Model with Qualitative and Limited Dependent Variables," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 19(2), pages 415-33, June.
  16. 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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