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Estimating dynamic income responses to tax reforms: Swedish evidence


  • Holmlund, Bertil

    () (Department of Economics, Uppsala University)

  • Söderström, Martin

    () (Ministry of Finance)


We study income responses to income tax changes by using a large panel of Swedish tax payers over the period 1991–2002. Changes in statutory tax rates as well as discretionary changes in tax bracket thresholds provide exogenous variations in tax rates that can be used to identify income responses. We estimate dynamic income models which allow us to distinguish between short-run and long-run effects in a straightforward fashion. For men, the estimates of the long-run elasticity of income with respect to the net-of-tax rate hover in a range between 0.10 and 0.30. The estimates for women are imprecise and statistically insignificant. We simulate the fiscal consequences of a tax reform that reduces the top marginal tax rate by five percentage points. Such a reform may have negligible effects on tax revenues even for relatively small elasticities when the interactions between income taxes and other taxes are taken into account.

Suggested Citation

  • Holmlund, Bertil & Söderström, Martin, 2008. "Estimating dynamic income responses to tax reforms: Swedish evidence," Working Paper Series 2008:28, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2008_028

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    Cited by:

    1. Lehmann, Etienne & Marical, François & Rioux, Laurence, 2013. "Labor income responds differently to income-tax and payroll-tax reforms," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 66-84.
    2. Sørensen, Peter Birch, 2014. "Measuring the deadweight loss from taxation in a small open economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 115-124.
    3. Weber, Caroline E., 2014. "Toward obtaining a consistent estimate of the elasticity of taxable income using difference-in-differences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 90-103.
    4. Gelber, Alexander, 2010. "Taxation and the Earnings of Husbands and Wives," MPRA Paper 20345, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Richard B. Freeman & Birgitta Swedenborg & Robert H. Topel, 2010. "Introduction to "Reforming the Welfare State: Recovery and Beyond in Sweden"," NBER Chapters,in: Reforming the Welfare State: Recovery and Beyond in Sweden, pages 1-23 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item


    Marginal tax rates; progressive taxes; earned income; tax reform;

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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