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Estimating Income Responses to Tax Changes: A Dynamic Panel Data Approach

  • Holmlund, Bertil

    ()

    (Uppsala University)

  • Söderström, Martin

    ()

    (National Institute of Economic Research - NIER)

Recent research on the behavioral effects of income taxes has to a large extent focused on the elasticity of taxable income with respect to the net-of-tax rate, i.e., one minus the marginal tax rate. We offer new evidence on this matter by making use of 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. The estimates of the long-run elasticity of income with respect to the net-of-tax rate typically hover in a range between 0.20 and 0.30. The short-run elasticities are in general smaller but less precisely estimated. We use the estimates to simulate the fiscal consequences of a tax reform that reduces the top marginal tax rate by five percentage points. Such a reform turns out to have negligible effects on tax revenues and may even yield a fiscal surplus.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3088.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy: Contributions to Economic Analysis and Policy, 2011, 11 (1)
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3088
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  1. Bovenberg, A.L., 2003. "Tax Policy and Labor Market Performance," Discussion Paper 2003-90, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  2. Edin, Per-Anders & Fredriksson, Peter, 2000. "LINDA - Longitudinal INdividual DAta for Sweden," Working Paper Series 2000:19, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  3. Fuest, Clemens & Huber, Bernd, 2000. "Is tax progression really good for employment? A model with endogenous hours of work," Munich Reprints in Economics 20296, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Robert A. Moffitt & Mark Wilhelm, 1998. "Taxation and the Labor Supply: Decisions of the Affluent," NBER Working Papers 6621, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Aarbu, Karl O. & Thoresen, Thor O., 2001. "Income Responses to Tax Changes--Evidence from the Norwegian Tax Reform," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 2), pages 319-38, June.
  6. 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.
  7. Saez, Emmanuel, 2003. "The effect of marginal tax rates on income: a panel study of 'bracket creep'," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 1231-1258, May.
  8. Michael Hoel, 1990. "Efficiency wages and income taxes," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 89-99, February.
  9. Sören Blomquist & Håkan Selin, 2009. "Hourly Wage Rate and Taxable Labor Income Responsiveness to Changes in Marginal Tax Rates," CESifo Working Paper Series 2644, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Gerald Auten & Robert Carroll, 1999. "The Effect Of Income Taxes On Household Income," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 681-693, November.
  11. Richard Blundell & Thomas MaCurdy, 1998. "Labour supply: a review of alternative approaches," IFS Working Papers W98/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  12. Sorensen, Peter Birch, 1999. "Optimal tax progressivity in imperfect labour markets," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 435-452, September.
  13. Åsa Hansson, 2007. "Taxpayers' responsiveness to tax rate changes and implications for the cost of taxation in Sweden," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 14(5), pages 563-582, October.
  14. repec:dgr:kubcen:200390 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Koskela, Erkki & Vilmunen, Jouko, 1996. "Tax progression is good for employment in popular models of trade union behaviour," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 65-80, August.
  16. Gruber, Jon & Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The elasticity of taxable income: evidence and implications," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-32, April.
  17. N. S. Blomquist & U. Hansson-Brusewitz, 1990. "The Effect of Taxes on Male and Female Labor Supply in Sweden," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 317-357.
  18. Christopher Pissarides, 1997. "The impact of employment tax cuts on unemployment and wages : the role of unemployment benefits and tax structure," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2332, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  19. Agell, Jonas & Englund, Peter & Sodersten, Jan, 1996. "Tax Reform of the Century -- the Swedish Experiment," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(4), pages 643-64, December.
  20. Giertz, Seth, 2004. "Recent Literature on Taxable-Income Elasticities," MPRA Paper 16159, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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