IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Impact of Tax Incentives on the Economic Activity of Entrepreneurs

  • Jarkko Harju
  • Tuomas Kosonen

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18442.

in new window

Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18442
Note: PE
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Robin Boadway & Neil Bruce, 1982. "A General Proposition on the Design of a Neutral Business Tax," Working Papers 461, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  2. Wojciech Kopczuk, 2003. "Tax Bases, Tax Rates and the Elasticity of Reported Income," NBER Working Papers 10044, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kerr, William R. & Nanda, Ramana, 2009. "Democratizing entry: Banking deregulations, financing constraints, and entrepreneurship," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 124-149, October.
  4. Duranton, Gilles & Gobillon, Laurent & Overman, Henry G, 2006. "Assessing the Effects of Local Taxation Using Microgeographic Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 5856, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Emmanuel Saez, 1999. "The Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Income: A Panel Study of 'Bracket Creep'," NBER Working Papers 7367, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Vesa Kanniainen & Seppo Kari & Jouko Ylä-Liedenpohja, 2005. "Nordic Dual Income Taxation of Entrepreneurs," CESifo Working Paper Series 1623, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Joel Slemrod & Wojciech Kopczuk, 2000. "The Optimal Elasticity of Taxable Income," NBER Working Papers 7922, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Gordon, Roger H. & Lee, Young, 2001. "Do taxes affect corporate debt policy? Evidence from U.S. corporate tax return data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 195-224, November.
  9. 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.
  10. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and taxation: theory and evidence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-11, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  11. Alan Auerbach & Michael P Devereux & Helen Simpson, 2007. "Taxing corporate income," Working Papers 0705, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  12. Mackie-Mason, Jeffrey K & Gordon, Roger H, 1997. " How Much Do Taxes Discourage Incorporation?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(2), pages 477-505, June.
  13. Bennmarker, Helge & Mellander, Erik & Öckert, Björn, 2009. "Do regional payroll tax reductions boost employment?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 480-489, October.
  14. William R. Kerr & Ramana Nanda, 2010. "Banking Deregulations, Financing Constraints, and Firm Entry Size," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 8(2-3), pages 582-593, 04-05.
  15. Martin Feldstein, 1999. "Tax Avoidance And The Deadweight Loss Of The Income Tax," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 674-680, November.
  16. Ossi Korkeamäki & Roope Uusitalo, 2009. "Employment and wage effects of a payroll-tax cut—evidence from a regional experiment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 16(6), pages 753-772, December.
  17. Goolsbee, Austan, 2004. "The impact of the corporate income tax: evidence from state organizational form data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(11), pages 2283-2299, September.
  18. Cullen, Julie Berry & Gordon, Roger H., 2007. "Taxes and entrepreneurial risk-taking: Theory and evidence for the U.S," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1479-1505, August.
  19. Roger H. Gordon & Jeffrey K. MacKie-Mason, 1992. "Tax Distortions to the Choice of Organizational Form," NBER Working Papers 4227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Austan Goolsbee, 1998. "Investment Tax Incentives, Prices, and the Supply of Capital Goods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 121-148.
  21. Mihir A. Desai & James R. Hines Jr., 2001. "Foreign Direct Investment in a World of Multiple Taxes," NBER Working Papers 8440, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Austan Goolsbee, 1997. "Taxes, Organizational Form, and the Deadweight Loss of the Corporate Income Tax," NBER Working Papers 6173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Do Taxpayers Bunch at Kink Points?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 180-212, August.
  24. Jagadeesh Sivadasan & Joel Slemrod, 2006. "Tax Law Changes, Income Shifting and Measured Wage Inequality: Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 12240, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Is the Taxable Income Elasticity Sufficient to Calculate Deadweight Loss? The Implications of Evasion and Avoidance," NBER Working Papers 13844, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Emmanuel Saez & Joel Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 3-50, March.
  27. Robert Carroll & Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Mark Rider & Harvey S. Rosen, 2000. "Personal Income Taxes and the Growth of Small Firms," NBER Working Papers 7980, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Lars P. Feld & Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2001. "The Impact of Corporate and Personal Income Taxes on the Location of Firms and on Employment: Some Panel Evidence for the Swiss Cantons," CESifo Working Paper Series 455, CESifo Group Munich.
  29. Jukka Pirttilä & Håkan Selin, 2011. "Income Shifting within a Dual Income Tax System: Evidence from the Finnish Tax Reform of 1993," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 113(1), pages 120-144, 03.
  30. Lee, Young & Gordon, Roger H., 2005. "Tax structure and economic growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 1027-1043, June.
  31. Nielsen, Soren Bo & Sorensen, Peter Birch, 1997. "On the optimality of the Nordic system of dual income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 311-329, February.
  32. Jon Gruber & Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income: Evidence and Implications," NBER Working Papers 7512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. Goolsbee, Austan & Maydew, Edward L., 2000. "Coveting thy neighbor's manufacturing: the dilemma of state income apportionment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 125-143, January.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18442. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.