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Tax Salience, Voting, and Deliberation

  • Rupert Sausgruber
  • Jean-Robert Tyran

Tax incentives can be more or less salient, i.e. noticeable or cognitively easy to process. Our hypothesis is that taxes on consumers are more salient to consumers than equivalent taxes on sellers because consumers underestimate the extent of tax shifting in the market. We show that tax salience biases consumers’ voting on tax regimes, and that experience is an effective de-biasing mechanism in the experimental laboratory. Pre-vote deliberation makes initially held opinions more extreme rather than correct and does not eliminate the bias in the typical committee. Yet, if voters can discuss their experience with the tax regimes they are less likely to be biased.

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Paper provided by The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria in its series NRN working papers with number 2009-25.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:jku:nrnwps:2009_25
Contact details of provider: Postal: NRN Labor Economics and the Welfare State, c/o Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, Altenbergerstr. 69, 4040 Linz
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