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Migration Elasticities, Fiscal Federalism and the Ability of States to Redistribute Income

  • Giertz, Seth H.

    ()

    (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

  • Tosun, Mehmet S.

    ()

    (University of Nevada, Reno)

This paper develops a simulation model in order to examine the effectiveness of state attempts at redistribution under a variety of migration elasticity assumptions. Key outputs from the simulation include the impact of tax-induced migration on state revenues, excess burden, and fiscal externalities. With modest migration elasticities, the costs of state-level redistribution are substantial, but state action may still be preferred to a federal policy that is at odds with preferences of a state's citizens. At higher migration elasticities, the costs of state action can be tremendous. Overall excess burden is greater, but this is dominated by horizontal fiscal externalities. Horizontal fiscal externalities represent a cost to the state pursuing additional redistribution, but not a cost at the national level.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6798.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: National Tax Journal, 2012, 65, 1069-92
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6798
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  1. Jon Bakija & Joel Slemrod, 2004. "Do the Rich Flee from High State Taxes? Evidence from Federal Estate Tax Returns," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-12, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  2. Andrew Leigh, 2005. "Can Redistributive State Taxes Reduce Inequality?," CEPR Discussion Papers 490, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  3. Emmanuel Saez & Joel B. Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2009. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," NBER Working Papers 15012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Henrik Kleven & Camille Landais & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Taxation and International Migration of Superstars: Evidence from the European Football Market," NBER Working Papers 16545, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Liebig, Thomas & Puhani, Patrick A. & Sousa-Poza, Alfonso, 2006. "Taxation And Internal Migration - Evidence From The Swiss Census Using Community-Level Variation In Income Tax Rates," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-348, Leibniz Universit├Ąt Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakult├Ąt.
  6. Young, Cristobal & Varner, Charles, 2011. "Millionaire Migration And State Taxation Of Top Incomes: Evidence From A Natural Experiment," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 64(2), pages 255-83, June.
  7. Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "The Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the 1986 Tax Reform Act," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 551-72, June.
  8. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2006. "How Progressive is the U.S. Federal Tax System? A Historical and International Perspective," NBER Working Papers 12404, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Leigh, Andrew, 2008. "Do Redistributive State Taxes Reduce Inequality?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 61(1), pages 81-104, March.
  10. Martin Feldstein, 1995. "Tax Avoidance and the Deadweight Loss of the Income Tax," NBER Working Papers 5055, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Martin Feldstein & Marian Vaillant, 1994. "Can State Taxes Redistribute Income?," NBER Working Papers 4785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the 1986 Tax Reform Act," Scholarly Articles 2766676, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. Chetty, Nadarajan, 2009. "Is the Taxable Income Elasticity Sufficient to Calculate Deadweight Loss? The Implications of Evasion and Avoidance," Scholarly Articles 9748527, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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