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(Post-)Materialist Attitudes and the Mix of Capital and Labour Taxation

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  • König, Tobias
  • Wagener, Andreas

Abstract

Social values shape policy outcomes. We examine the role of postmaterialism, a widely used concept in the social sciences, for the mix of capital and labour taxation chosen by a society. Following political scientist Inglehart, we define the degree of postmaterialism as the relative importance which individuals or a society as a whole ascribe to non-material values over material things. We incorporate this notion into a simple tax model for a small open economy. We show that a greater emphasis on immaterial values will lower the ratio of capital to labour taxes. Subsequently, we test our theoretical results empirically, using a panel data set comprising 17 OECD countries over the period 1981-2000. Proxies for the degree of postmaterialism are developed from the World Values Surveys. Their impact on the tax mix is highly significant and goes into the theoretically predicted direction.

Suggested Citation

  • König, Tobias & Wagener, Andreas, 2008. "(Post-)Materialist Attitudes and the Mix of Capital and Labour Taxation," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-404, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  • Handle: RePEc:han:dpaper:dp-404
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    Keywords

    Culture Economics; Social Values; Postmaterialism; Taxation;

    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General

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