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Personal Income Taxes and the Growth of Small Firms

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  • Robert Carroll
  • Douglas Holtz-Eakin
  • Mark Rider
  • Harvey S. Rosen

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of entrepreneurs' personal income tax situations on the growth rates of their enterprises. We analyze the personal income tax returns of a large number of sole proprietors before and after the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and determine how the substantial reductions in marginal tax rates associated with that law affected the growth of their firms as measured by gross receipts. We find that individual income taxes exert a statistically and quantitatively significant influence on firm growth rates. Raising the sole proprietor's tax price (one minus the marginal tax rate) by 10 percent increases receipts by about 8.4 percent. This finding is consistent with the view that raising income tax rates discourages the growth of small businesses.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Carroll & Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Mark Rider & Harvey S. Rosen, 2000. "Personal Income Taxes and the Growth of Small Firms," NBER Working Papers 7980, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7980
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Joulfaian, David & Rosen, Harvey S, 1994. "Sticking It Out: Entrepreneurial Survival and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 53-75, February.
    2. Evans, David S & Jovanovic, Boyan, 1989. "An Estimated Model of Entrepreneurial Choice under Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(4), pages 808-827, August.
    3. Evans, David S, 1987. "Tests of Alternative Theories of Firm Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(4), pages 657-674, August.
    4. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & David Joulfaian & Harvey S. Rosen, 1994. "Entrepreneurial Decisions and Liquidity Constraints," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 334-347, Summer.
    5. Steven M. Fazzari & R. Glenn Hubbard & Bruce C. Petersen, 1988. "Financing Constraints and Corporate Investment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 141-206.
    6. Richard E. Caves, 1998. "Industrial Organization and New Findings on the Turnover and Mobility of Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 1947-1982, December.
    7. Bruce D. Meyer, 1990. "Why Are There So Few Black Entrepreneurs?," NBER Working Papers 3537, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Carroll, Robert & Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Rider, Mark & Rosen, Harvey S, 2000. "Income Taxes and Entrepreneurs' Use of Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 324-351, April.
    9. Robert Carroll & Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Mark Rider & Harvey S. Rosen, 1998. "Entrepreneurs, Income Taxes, and Investment," NBER Working Papers 6374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    12. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    13. Robert Carroll & Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Mark Rider & Harvey S. Rosen, 1996. "Income Taxes and Entrepreneur' Use of Labor," Working Papers 752, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies

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