IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/diw/diwsop/diw_sp526.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Happy Taxpayers? Income Taxation and Well-Being

Author

Listed:
  • Alpaslan Akay
  • Olivier Bargain
  • Mathias Dolls
  • Dirk Neumann
  • Andreas Peichl
  • Sebastian Siegloch

Abstract

This paper offers a first empirical investigation of how labor taxation (income and payroll taxes) affects individuals' well-being. For identification, we exploit exogenous variation in tax rules over time and across demographic groups using 26 years of German panel data. We find that the tax effect on subjective well-being is significant and positive when controlling for income net of taxes. This interesting result is robust to numerous specification checks. It is consistent with several possible channels through which taxes affect welfare including public goods, insurance, redistributive taste and tax morale.

Suggested Citation

  • Alpaslan Akay & Olivier Bargain & Mathias Dolls & Dirk Neumann & Andreas Peichl & Sebastian Siegloch, 2012. "Happy Taxpayers? Income Taxation and Well-Being," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 526, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp526
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.414074.de/diw_sp0526.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 2011. "Money and Happiness: Evidence from the Industry Wage Structure," IZA Discussion Papers 5705, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard E, 1996. "Public Provision of Private Goods," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(1), pages 57-84, February.
    3. Kassenböhmer, Sonja C. & Haisken-DeNew, John P., 2009. "Social Jealousy and Stigma: Negative Externalities of Social Assistance Payments in Germany," Ruhr Economic Papers 117, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    4. Levinson, Arik, 2012. "Valuing public goods using happiness data: The case of air quality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 869-880.
    5. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868.
    6. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, July.
    7. Andrew E. Clark & Paul Frijters & Michael A. Shields, 2008. "Relative Income, Happiness, and Utility: An Explanation for the Easterlin Paradox and Other Puzzles," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(1), pages 95-144, March.
    8. Simon Luechinger, 2009. "Valuing Air Quality Using the Life Satisfaction Approach," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(536), pages 482-515, March.
    9. Emmanuel Saez & Joel Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 3-50.
    10. Rafael Di Tella & Robert J. MacCulloch & Andrew J. Oswald, 2003. "The Macroeconomics of Happiness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 809-827, November.
    11. Simon Luechinger & Stephan Meier & Alois Stutzer, 2010. "Why Does Unemployment Hurt the Employed?: Evidence from the Life Satisfaction Gap Between the Public and the Private Sector," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(4), pages 998-1045.
    12. van Praag, B. M. S. & Frijters, P. & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, A., 2003. "The anatomy of subjective well-being," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 29-49, May.
    13. Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew J., 2007. "Money and mental wellbeing: A longitudinal study of medium-sized lottery wins," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 49-60, January.
    14. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Money Does Matter! Evidence from Increasing Real Income and Life Satisfaction in East Germany Following Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 730-740, June.
    15. Lelkes, Orsolya, 2006. "Tasting freedom: Happiness, religion and economic transition," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 173-194, February.
    16. Anderson, Gary M, 1988. "Mr. Smith and the Preachers: The Economics of Religion in the Wealth of Nations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 1066-1088, October.
    17. Gregori Baetschmann & Kevin E. Staub & Rainer Winkelmann, 2015. "Consistent estimation of the fixed effects ordered logit model," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 178(3), pages 685-703, June.
    18. Akay, Alpaslan & Martinsson, Peter, 2009. "Sundays Are Blue: Aren’t They? The Day-of-the-Week Effect on Subjective Well-Being and Socio-Economic Status," IZA Discussion Papers 4563, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2005. "Fairness and Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 960-980.
    20. Daniel Kahneman & Robert Sugden, 2005. "Experienced Utility as a Standard of Policy Evaluation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(1), pages 161-181, September.
    21. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
    22. Lubian, Diego & Zarri, Luca, 2011. "Happiness and tax morale: An empirical analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 223-243.
    23. Philipp Doerrenberg & Andreas Peichl, 2013. "Progressive taxation and tax morale," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 293-316, June.
    24. Luechinger, Simon & Raschky, Paul A., 2009. "Valuing flood disasters using the life satisfaction approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(3-4), pages 620-633, April.
    25. Layard, R. & Mayraz, G. & Nickell, S., 2008. "The marginal utility of income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(8-9), pages 1846-1857, August.
    26. Hans Peter Gruner & Giacomo Corneo, 2000. "Social Limits to Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1491-1507, December.
    27. Gert G. Wagner & Joachim R. Frick & Jürgen Schupp, 2007. "The German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) – Scope, Evolution and Enhancements," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 127(1), pages 139-169.
    28. Alm, James & Torgler, Benno, 2006. "Culture differences and tax morale in the United States and in Europe," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, pages 224-246.
    29. Layard, Richard, 1980. "Human Satisfactions and Public Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(363), pages 737-750, December.
    30. Bruno Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2012. "The use of happiness research for public policy," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 38(4), pages 659-674, April.
    31. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002.
    32. Paul Frijters & John P. Haisken-DeNew & Michael A. Shields, 2004. "Investigating the Patterns and Determinants of Life Satisfaction in Germany Following Reunification," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(3).
    33. Videras Julio R & Owen Ann L, 2006. "Public Goods Provision and Well-Being: Empirical Evidence Consistent with the Warm Glow Theory," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-40, April.
    34. Zohal Hessami, 2010. "The Size and Composition of Government Spending in Europe and Its Impact on Well-Being," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(3), pages 346-382, August.
    35. Christian Bjørnskov & Axel Dreher & Justina Fischer, 2007. "The bigger the better? Evidence of the effect of government size on life satisfaction around the world," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 267-292, March.
    36. Bruno Frey & Simon Luechinger & Alois Stutzer, 2009. "The life satisfaction approach to valuing public goods: The case of terrorism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 138(3), pages 317-345, March.
    37. Richard Layard, 2006. "Happiness and Public Policy: a Challenge to the Profession," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(510), pages 24-33, March.
    38. Torgler, Benno, 2006. "The importance of faith: Tax morale and religiosity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 81-109.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Verena Lauber & Johanna Storck, 2016. "Helping with the Kids? How Family-Friendly Workplaces Affect Parental Well-Being and Behavior," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 883, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    2. Verena Lauber & Johanna Storck, 2016. "Helping with the Kids? How Family-Friendly Workplaces Affect Parental Well-Being and Behavior," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1630, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Herbst, Chris M. & Lucio, Joanna, 2014. "Happy in the Hood? The Impact of Residential Segregation on Self-Reported Happiness," IZA Discussion Papers 7944, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Boyd-Swan, Casey & Herbst, Chris M. & Ifcher, John & Zarghamee, Homa, 2013. "The Earned Income Tax Credit, Health, and Happiness," IZA Discussion Papers 7261, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Robert MacCulloch, 2017. "How political systems and social welfare policies affect well-being: A literature review," Working Papers 17_14 Classification- E71, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
    6. Aart Gerritsen & Bas Jacobs, 2016. "Is a Minimum Wage an Appropriate Instrument for Redistribution?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-100/VI, Tinbergen Institute.
    7. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada & Gërxhani, Klarita, 2016. "Tax evasion and well-being: A study of the social and institutional context in Central and Eastern Europe," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 45(S), pages 149-159.
    8. DUCRAY François, 2015. "Should we change national assistance for students and their families?," Cahiers du GREThA 2015-23, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    subjective well-being; taxation; public goods;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:diw:diwsop:diw_sp526. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bibliothek). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/sodiwde.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.