IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/24175.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Do Taxes Increase Economic Inequality? A Comparative Study Based on the State Personal Income Tax

Author

Listed:
  • Ugo Troiano

Abstract

I present new quasi-experimental evidence on the relationship between tax policies and the distribution of income. I focus on the twentieth century United States, and on the personal income tax, since its inception. I study three major policy events that, as the existing literature shows, significantly raised the revenues from the income tax: the introduction of the state personal income tax, the introduction of tax withholding together with third-party reporting, and the intergovernmental agreements between the federal and state governments to coordinate tax auditing efforts. All the three policies were introduced in a staggered fashion and increased tax revenues, but had different fiscal consequences. Despite this, I find that income inequality raised after all the tax policy events. The result is robust to different measures of economic inequality and econometric specifications.

Suggested Citation

  • Ugo Troiano, 2017. "Do Taxes Increase Economic Inequality? A Comparative Study Based on the State Personal Income Tax," NBER Working Papers 24175, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24175
    Note: DAE PE POL
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w24175.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
    2. Ufuk Akcigit & Salomé Baslandze & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2016. "Taxation and the International Mobility of Inventors," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(10), pages 2930-2981, October.
    3. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality in the United States, 1913–1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-41.
    4. Ugo Troiano, 2017. "Intergovernmental Cooperation and Tax Enforcement," NBER Working Papers 24153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Daniel R. Feenberg & James M. Poterba, 1993. "Income Inequality and the Incomes of Very High-Income Taxpayers: Evidence from Tax Returns," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 7, pages 145-177 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Mark Frank & Mark Price & Emmanuel Saez & Estelle Sommeiller, 2015. "Frank-Sommeiller-Price Series for Top Income Shares by US States since 1917," Technical Notes 201507, World Inequality Lab.
    7. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Camille Landais & Emmanuel Saez, 2013. "Taxation and International Migration of Superstars: Evidence from the European Football Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1892-1924, August.
    8. James M. Poterba & Daniel R. Feenberg, 2000. "The Income and Tax Share of Very High-Income Households, 1960-1995," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 264-270, May.
    9. 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.
    10. Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman, 2016. "Editor's Choice Wealth Inequality in the United States since 1913: Evidence from Capitalized Income Tax Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(2), pages 519-578.
    11. Mark W. Frank, 2009. "Inequality And Growth In The United States: Evidence From A New State‐Level Panel Of Income Inequality Measures," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(1), pages 55-68, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Suresh Nallareddy & Ethan Rouen & Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato, 2018. "Do Corporate Tax Cuts Increase Income Inequality?," NBER Working Papers 24598, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24175. 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: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.