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Tax Salience, Voting, and Deliberation


  • Rupert Sausgruber

    (University of Innsbruck)

  • Jean-Robert Tyran

    (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Rupert Sausgruber & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2008. "Tax Salience, Voting, and Deliberation," Discussion Papers 08-21, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0821

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Morone, Andrea & Nemore, Francesco & Nuzzo, Simone, 2016. "Experimental Evidence on Tax Salience and Tax Incidence," MPRA Paper 74319, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Fochmann, Martin & Kiesewetter, Dirk & Sadrieh, Abdolkarim, 2009. "The perception of income taxation on risky investments: An experimental analysis of different methods of loss compensation," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 92, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.

    More about this item


    tax salience; learning; deliberation; voting;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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