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The Effects of Tax Salience and Tax Experience on Individual Work Efforts in a Framed Field Experiment

  • Martin Fochmann

    ()

    (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)

  • Joachim Weimann

    ()

    (Faculty of Economics and Management, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg)

We conduct a framed field experiment with 245 employed persons (no students) as subjects and a real tax, which is levied on the subjects' income from working in our real effort task. In our first three treatments, the net wage is constant but gross wages are subject to different constant marginal tax rates (0, 25%, 50%). It turns out that the effort is significantly higher under the tax than in the no tax treatment. Subjects perceive a too high net wage because they underestimate the tax. We conjecture that tax perception depends on the tax rate, the presentation of the tax and the experience subjects have with taxation. These conjectures are confirmed in four further treatments employing a direct and an indirect progressive tax scale. It turns out that simple flat taxes are particularly prone to being misperceived because their simplicity reduces the tax salience.

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File URL: http://www.fww.ovgu.de/fww_media/femm/femm_2011/2011_20.pdf
File Function: First version, 2011
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Paper provided by Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Faculty of Economics and Management in its series FEMM Working Papers with number 110020.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mag:wpaper:110020
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  1. David Reiley & John List, 2008. "Field experiments," Artefactual Field Experiments 00091, The Field Experiments Website.
  2. Looney, Adam & Kroft, Kory & Chetty, Raj, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," Scholarly Articles 9748525, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. James Andreoni & John Miller, 2002. "Giving According to GARP: An Experimental Test of the Consistency of Preferences for Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 737-753, March.
  4. Rupert Sausgruber & Jean-Robert Tyran, . "Testing the Mill hypothesis of fiscal illusion," Discussion Papers 04-18, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Sep 2004.
  5. Amy Finkelstein, 2009. "E-ZTAX: Tax Salience and Tax Rates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(3), pages 969-1010, August.
  6. Swenson, Charles W., 1988. "Taxpayer behavior in response to taxation: An experimental analysis," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-28.
  7. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  8. Sillamaa, M. A., 1999. "Taxpayer behavior in response to taxation: comment and new experimental evidence," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 165-177.
  9. Fehr, Ernst & Gachter, Simon, 1998. "Reciprocity and economics: The economic implications of Homo Reciprocans1," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 845-859, May.
  10. Jacob Mincer, 1958. "Investment in Human Capital and Personal Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 281.
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