Fiscal Illusion and Fiscal Obfuscation:An Empirical Study of Tax Perception in Sweden
In this paper we present survey evidence suggesting that there exists a sizeable fiscal illusion amongst the general public in Sweden. Respondents in a nation-wide and representative survey systematically underestimate the share of an ordinary worker’s income that is transferred to the public sector. Furthermore, we make a theoretical distinction between tax illusion and fiscal obfuscation, a proposed novel type of fiscal illusion. It has previously been assumed that fiscal illusion derives from a fragmentized tax system with many small, and largely invisible, taxes which tend to be ignored or underestimated by the tax payers. We hypothesize that this systematic bias could in addition emanate from misapprehensions of the real incidence of a tax. Evidence is presented that this could apply even when taxes are few and large, contrary to the tax complexity hypothesis. When this misperception derives from seemingly deliberate tax design and tax labeling, as appears to be the case with the payroll taxes in Sweden, we call it fiscal obfuscation.
|Date of creation:||31 May 2010|
|Publication status:||Published as Sanandaji, Tino and Björn Wallace, 'Fiscal Illusion and Fiscal Obfuscation:An Empirical Study of Tax Perception in Sweden' in Independent Review , 2013, pages 237-246.|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Research Institute of Industrial Economics, Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden|
Phone: +46 8 665 4500
Fax: +46 8 665 4599
Web page: http://www.ifn.se/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009.
"Salience and taxation: theory and evidence,"
Finance and Economics Discussion Series
2009-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
- Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2007. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Looney, Adam & Kroft, Kory & Chetty, Raj, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," Scholarly Articles 9748525, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Magee,Stephen P. & Brock,William A. & Young,Leslie, 1989.
"Black Hole Tariffs and Endogenous Policy Theory,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521362474, December.
- Chu, Hong-Yih, 2003. "The Dual-Illusion of Grants-in-Aid on Central and Local Expenditures," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 114(3-4), pages 349-359, March.
- Caplan, Bryan, 2001. "Rational Irrationality and the Microfoundations of Political Failure," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 107(3-4), pages 311-331, June.
- Schokkaert, Erik, 1988. "Fiscal preferences and fiscal knowledge at the local level," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 29-46, March.
- Melo, Ligia, 2002. "The Flypaper Effect under Different Institutional Contexts: The Colombian Case," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 111(3-4), pages 317-345, June.
- Rupert Sausgruber & Jean-Robert Tyran, "undated".
"Testing the Mill hypothesis of fiscal illusion,"
04-18, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Sep 2004.
- Congleton, Roger D, 2001.
"Rational Ignorance, Rational Voter Expectations, and Public Policy: A Discrete Informational Foundation for Fiscal Illusion,"
Springer, vol. 107(1-2), pages 35-64, April.
- Roger Congleton, 2001. "Rational Ignorance, Rational Voter Expectations, and Public Policy: A Discrete Informational Foundation for Fiscal Illusion," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 107(1), pages 35-64, April.
- Magnus Henrekson & Johan Lybeck, 1988. "Explaining the growth of government in Sweden: A disequilibrium approach," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 57(3), pages 213-232, June.
- Pommerehne, Werner W & Schneider, Friedrich, 1978. "Fiscal Illusion, Political Institutions, and Local Public Spending," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(3), pages 381-408.
- Rebecca J. Campbell, 2004. "Leviathan and Fiscal Illusion in Local Government Overlapping Jurisdictions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 120(3_4), pages 301-329, 09.
- Dornstein, Miriam, 1987. "Taxes: Attitudes and perceptions and their social bases," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 55-76, March.
- Lewis, Alan, 1979. "An Empirical Assessment of Tax Mentality," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 34(2), pages 245-257.
- Gemmell, Norman & Morrissey, Oliver & Pinar, Abuzer, 2002. "Fiscal Illusion and Political Accountability: Theory and Evidence from Two Local Tax Regimes in Britain," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 110(3-4), pages 199-224, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0837. 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: (Elisabeth Gustafsson)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.