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The Impact of Tax Incentives on the Economic Activity of Entrepreneurs

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  • Jarkko Harju
  • Tuomas Kosonen

Abstract

Based on existing evidence, we know little about how the taxation of small business owners affects their economic activity. This paper studies the effect of two Finnish tax reforms, in 1997 and 1998, on the effort decisions of the owners of small businesses utilizing both theoretical model and empirical data. The reforms reduced the income tax rates of small business owners and applied only to unincorporated firms, leaving corporations out. We use a difference-in-differences strategy to estimate the causal impact of tax incentives on the economic activity of small businesses. The results imply that lighter taxation leads to an increase in the turnover of firms that we interpret as an increase in effort exerted by their owners.

Suggested Citation

  • Jarkko Harju & Tuomas Kosonen, 2012. "The Impact of Tax Incentives on the Economic Activity of Entrepreneurs," NBER Working Papers 18442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18442
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    Cited by:

    1. Jarkko Harju & Tuomas Kosonen, 2012. "The Impact of Tax Incentives on the Economic Activity of Entrepreneurs," Working Papers 1220, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    2. Edmark, Karin & Gordon, Roger, 2012. "Taxes and the Choice of Organizational Form by Entrepreneurs in Sweden," Working Paper Series 907, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    3. Sanz Labrador, Ismael & Sanz-Sanz, José Félix, 2013. "Política fiscal y crecimiento económico: consideraciones microeconómicas y relaciones macroeconómicas," Macroeconomía del Desarrollo 134, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    4. Jarkko Harju & Tuomas Matikka, 2013. "The elasticity of taxable income and income-shifting between tax bases: what is “real” and what is not?," Working Papers 1313, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    5. Henrekson, Magnus & Sanandaji, Tino, 2016. "Owner-Level Taxes and Business Activity," Foundations and Trends(R) in Entrepreneurship, now publishers, vol. 12(1), pages 1-94, March.
    6. Martner Fanta, Ricardo & Gonzales, Ivonne & Podestá, Andrea, 2013. "Políticas fiscales para el crecimiento y la igualdad," Macroeconomía del Desarrollo 138, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    7. Jarkko Harju & Tuomas Matikka, 2016. "The elasticity of taxable income and income-shifting: what is “real” and what is not?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(4), pages 640-669, August.
    8. Elert, Niklas & Henrekson, Magnus & Stenkula, Mikael, 2017. "Institutional Reform for Innovation and Entrepreneurship: An Agenda for Europe," Working Paper Series 1150, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, revised 16 Feb 2017.
    9. Siegloch, Sebastian, 2014. "Employment Effects of Local Business Taxes," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100325, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies

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