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Is A Value Added Tax Progressive? Annual Versus Lifetime Incidence Measures

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  • Erik Caspersen
  • Gilbert Metcalf

Abstract

We measure the lifetime incidence of a value added tax (V AT) using income data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and consumption data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX). When annual income is used as a measure of economic well-being, a VAT looks quite regressive. However, the results change significantly when the analysis is done using lifetime income. Using two different measures of lifetime income, we find that a VAT in the United States would be proportional to slightly progressive over the lifetime.

Suggested Citation

  • Erik Caspersen & Gilbert Metcalf, 1993. "Is A Value Added Tax Progressive? Annual Versus Lifetime Incidence Measures," NBER Working Papers 4387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4387
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Poterba, James M, 1989. "Lifetime Incidence and the Distributional Burden of Excise Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 325-330, May.
    2. James M. Poterba, 1991. "Is the Gasoline Tax Regressive?," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 5, pages 145-164 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Donald O. Parsons, 1978. "The Autocorrelation of Earnings, Human Wealth Inequality, and Income Contingent Loans," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 92(4), pages 551-569.
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    6. Brashares, Edith & Speyrer, Janet Furman & Carlson, George N., 1988. "Distributional Aspects of a Federal Value-Added Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 41(2), pages 155-74, June.
    7. Lyon, Andrew B & Schwab, Robert M, 1995. "Consumption Taxes in a Life-Cycle Framework: Are Sin Taxes Regressive?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(3), pages 389-406, August.
    8. Suits, Daniel B, 1977. "Measurement of Tax Progressivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 747-752, September.
    9. 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.
    10. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Keueger, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014.
    11. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-445, March.
    12. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
    13. Brashares, Edith & Speyrer, Janet Furman & Carlson, George N., 1988. "Distributional Aspects of a Federal Value-Added Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 41(2), pages 155-174, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel R. Feenberg & Andrew W. Mitrusi & James M. Poterba, 1997. "Distributional Effects of Adopting a National Retail Sales Tax," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 11, pages 49-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Bengtsson, Niklas & Holmlund, Bertil & Waldenström, Daniel, 2012. "Lifetime versus Annual Tax Progressivity: Sweden, 1968–2009," IZA Discussion Papers 6641, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Arsić, Milojko & Altiparmakov, Nikola, 2013. "Equity aspects of VAT in emerging European countries: A case study of Serbia," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 171-186.
    4. Florian Wöhlbier & Caterina Astarita & Gilles Mourre, 2014. "Consolidation on the revenue side and growth-friendly tax structures: an indicator based approach," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 513, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    5. Mathur, Aparna & Morris, Adele C., 2014. "Distributional effects of a carbon tax in broader U.S. fiscal reform," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 326-334.
    6. repec:ijm:journl:v10:y:2017:i:1:p:39-72 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Hammar, Henrik & Jagers, Sverker C., 2007. "What is a fair CO2 tax increase? On fair emission reductions in the transport sector," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2-3), pages 377-387, March.
    8. repec:ijm:journl:v109:y:2017:i:1:p:39-72 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence

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