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The Wealth Tax and Entrepreneurial Activity

Entrepreneurship is often credited with generating important positive economic externalities. For example, entrepreneurs are often credited for promoting innovation, discovering new markets, and serving as a mechanism for knowledge spillover. Governments increasingly view encouraging entrepreneurship as an important policy objective. Economists have long studied the determinants of entrepreneurship. Taxation has also been found to be important, in particular income taxes and capital taxes. One form of taxation that has not been considered so far, however, is the wealth tax. The wealth tax is likely to influence entrepreneurship negatively, by affecting the pool of capital available to start up businesses as well as reducing the net return to successful entrepreneurship. This paper illustrates the impact of a tax on wealth on entrepreneurship using a simple model of the choice between becoming an entrepreneur or an employee. Actual data is then used to crudely investigate whether the wealth tax indeed has a measurable effect on self-employment in OECD countries, using increasingly sophisticated techniques. A difference-in-difference type estimator using the abolishment of the wealth tax as a ”natural experiment” points to a consistent pattern of a perceptible, but small impact.

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Paper provided by Lund University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2005:43.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 19 Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Entrepreneurship, 2008, pages 139-156.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2005_043
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund,Sweden
Phone: +46 +46 222 0000
Fax: +46 +46 2224613
Web page: http://www.nek.lu.se/en

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  1. Schuetze, Herb J., 2000. "Taxes, economic conditions and recent trends in male self-employment: a Canada-US comparison," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 507-544, September.
  2. Keuschnigg, Christian & Nielsen, Soren Bo, 2000. "Tax Policy, Venture Capital and Entrepreneurship," CEPR Discussion Papers 2626, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Keuschnigg, Christian & Nielsen, Soren Bo, 2004. "Start-ups, venture capitalists, and the capital gains tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(5), pages 1011-1042, April.
  4. Blanchflower, David G & Oswald, Andrew J, 1998. "What Makes an Entrepreneur?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 26-60, January.
  5. Roger H. Gordon, 1998. "Can High Personal Tax Rates Encourage Entrepreneurial Activity?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 45(1), pages 49-80, March.
  6. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & David Joulfaian & Harvey Rosen, 1993. "Sticking It Out: Entrepreneurial Survival and Liquidity Constraints," Working Papers 698, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  7. Poterba, James M., 1989. "Capital Gains Tax Policy Toward Entrepreneurship," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 42(3), pages 375-89, September.
  8. Parker, Simon C, 1996. "A Time Series Model of Self-Employment under Uncertainty," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(251), pages 459-75, August.
  9. William M. Gentry & R. Glenn Hubbard, 2000. "Entrepreneurship and Household Saving," NBER Working Papers 7894, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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.
  11. Hansson, Åsa, 2002. "The Wealth Tax and Economic Growth," Working Papers 2002:20, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  12. Davidsson, Per & Henrekson, Magnus, 2002. " Determinants of the Prevalence of Start-Ups and High-Growth Firms," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 81-104, September.
  13. Simon C. Parker & Martin T. Robson, 2004. "Explaining International Variations in Self-Employment: Evidence from a Panel of OECD Countries," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 71(2), pages 287-301, October.
  14. Roger H. Gordon & Julie Berry Cullen, 2002. "Taxes and Entrepreneurial Activity: Theory and Evidence for the U.S," NBER Working Papers 9015, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. 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.
  16. R. Glenn Hubbard & William M. Gentry, 2000. "Tax Policy and Entrepreneurial Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 283-287, May.
  17. Lindh, Thomas & Ohlsson, Henry, 1996. "Self-Employment and Windfall Gains: Evidence from the Swedish Lottery," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(439), pages 1515-26, November.
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