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Empirical Evidence on the Effects of Marginal Tax Rates on Income – The German Case

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Abstract

In 1990 the German personal income tax schedule underwent a major change. We interpret this reform as a ‘natural experiment´ and use a panel of individual income tax returns to analyze the response of income to changes in the individual tax rates. Our results suggest an average elasticity of taxable income with respect to the net-of-tax rate of around 0.4. Due to the detailed information the panel provides, we are not only able to distinguish between different levels of income but also between different types of income. We found very low elasticity estimates in the case of regular employment income, but values of up to 1.0 for business income and for high-income households.

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  • Peter Gottfried & Hannes Schellhorn, 2004. "Empirical Evidence on the Effects of Marginal Tax Rates on Income – The German Case," IAW Discussion Papers 15, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW).
  • Handle: RePEc:iaw:iawdip:15
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    File URL: http://www.iaw.edu/RePEc/iaw/pdf/iaw_dp_15.pdf
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    1. Martin Feldstein, 1999. "Tax Avoidance And The Deadweight Loss Of The Income Tax," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 674-680, November.
    2. Gruber, Jon & Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The elasticity of taxable income: evidence and implications," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 1-32.
    3. Slemrod, Joel, 1998. "Methodological Issues in Measuring and Interpreting Taxable Income Elasticities," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 4), pages 773-88, December.
    4. Slemrod, Joel, 1998. "Methodological Issues in Measuring and Interpreting Taxable Income Elasticities," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(4), pages 773-788, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Steiner, Viktor, 2010. "Konsolidierung der Staatsfinanzen," Discussion Papers 2010/9, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    2. Neisser, Carina, 2017. "The elasticity of taxable income: A meta-regression analysis," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-032, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. Bach, Stefan & Corneo, Giacomo & Steiner, Viktor, 2012. "Optimal top marginal tax rates under income splitting for couples," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1055-1069.
    4. Arrazola, María & de Hevia, José & Romero, Desiderio & Sanz-Sanz, José Félix, 2014. "Personal Income Tax Reforms and the Elasticity of Reported Income to Marginal Tax Rates: An Empirical Analysis Applied to Spain," Working Paper Series 3593, Victoria University of Wellington, Chair in Public Finance.

    More about this item

    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
    • J29 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Other

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