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The Lifetime Incidence of State and Local Taxes: Measuring Changes During the 1980s

  • Gilbert E. Metcalf

I compute the lifetime tax incidence of the major state and local taxes used in the United States during the 1980s. Using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey, I show that over the life cycle, general sales taxes are progressive and equally as progressive as state and local income taxes. While the progressivity of sales taxes has not changed between 1984 and 1989, income taxes have become less progressive over that five-year period. Property taxes on the other hand have become more progressive. The system of state and local taxes is mildly progressive the life cycle and has become slightly more progressive between 1984 and 1989. Finally. eliminating deductibility for sales taxes in 1986 appears to have had little effect on the overall progressivity of the tax system.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4252.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4252.

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Date of creation: Jan 1993
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Tax Progressivity and Income Inequality, ed. Joel Slemrod, Cambridge University Press, 1994.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4252
Note: PE
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  1. Poterba, J.M., 1990. "Is The Gasoline Tax Regressive?," Working papers 568, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Hamilton, Bruce W, 1976. "Capitalization of Intrajurisdictional Differences in Local Tax Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(5), pages 743-53, December.
  3. David M. Cutler & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "Macroeconomic Performance and the Disadvantaged," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 1-74.
  4. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 706-32, August.
  5. Davies, James B & St-Hilaire, France & Whalley, John, 1984. "Some Calculations of Lifetime Tax Incidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 633-49, September.
  6. Suits, Daniel B, 1977. "Measurement of Tax Progressivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 747-52, September.
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