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Should Tax Reform Level the Playing Field?

  • Lawrence H. Summers

While frequently invoked, the level playing field ideal and its practical embodiment in tax legislation has received relatively little analysis. This paper examines the economic arguments surrounding the level playing field doctrine. I conclude that leveling the playing field is an issue of little economic importance and that efforts to level the playing field like those recently enacted are likely to create more important nonneutralities than those they eliminate. They may however contribute to the perceived fairness of the tax system.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2132.

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Date of creation: Jan 1987
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2132
Note: PE
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  1. Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "Capital Taxation and Accumulation in a Life Cycle Growth Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 533-44, September.
  2. Don Fullerton & Roger H. Gordon, 1983. "A Reexamination of Tax Distortions in General Equilibrium Models," NBER Chapters, in: Behavioral Simulation Methods in Tax Policy Analysis, pages 369-426 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jeremy I. Bulow & Lawrence H. Summers, 1982. "The Taxation of Risky Assets," NBER Working Papers 0897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jorgenson, Dale W & Yun, Kun-Young, 1986. " Tax Policy and Capital Allocation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(2), pages 355-77.
  5. Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "Investment Incentives and the Discounting of Depreciation Allowances," NBER Chapters, in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 295-304 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Roger H. Gordon & James R. Hines, Jr. & Lawrence H. Summers, 1987. "Notes on the Tax Treatment of Structures," NBER Chapters, in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 223-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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