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Do Corporate Tax Cuts Increase Income Inequality?

Author

Listed:
  • Suresh Nallareddy
  • Ethan Rouen
  • Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato

Abstract

We study the effects of corporate taxes on income inequality. Using state corporate taxes as a setting, we provide evidence that corporate tax cuts lead to increases in income inequality. This result is robust across regression, matching, and synthetic controls approaches, and to controlling for a host of potential confounders. We use Statistics of Income data from the IRS to explore mechanisms behind this result. We find tax cuts lead to higher income for both top and bottom earners, but the gains to capital income for top earners exceed the gains to total income for bottom earners. This result suggests that, while all earners appear to benefit from a corporate tax cut, the relation between tax cuts and inequality is positive, in part, because high income individuals shift their compensation to reduce taxes.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:24598
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato & Owen Zidar, 2016. "Who Benefits from State Corporate Tax Cuts? A Local Labor Markets Approach with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(9), pages 2582-2624, September.
    2. Owen M. Zidar, 2015. "Tax Cuts For Whom? Heterogeneous Effects of Income Tax Changes on Growth and Employment," NBER Working Papers 21035, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Clemens Fuest & Andreas Peichl & Sebastian Siegloch, 2018. "Do Higher Corporate Taxes Reduce Wages? Micro Evidence from Germany," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(2), pages 393-418, February.
    4. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2014. "Optimal Taxation of Top Labor Incomes: A Tale of Three Elasticities," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 230-271, February.
    5. Philippe Aghion & Ufuk Akcigit & Antonin Bergeaud & Richard Blundell & David Hemous, 2019. "Innovation and Top Income Inequality," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(1), pages 1-45.
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    15. Pablo D Fajgelbaum & Eduardo Morales & Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato & Owen Zidar, 2019. "State Taxes and Spatial Misallocation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(1), pages 333-376.
    16. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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