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Taxes and Entrepreneurial Activity: Theory and Evidence for the U.S

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  • Roger H. Gordon
  • Julie Berry Cullen

Abstract

Entrepreneurial activity is presumed to generate important spillovers, potentially justifying tax subsidies. How does the tax law affect individual incentives? How much of an impact has it had in practice? We first show theoretically that taxes can affect the incentives to be an entrepreneur due simply to differences in tax rates on business vs. wage and salary income, due to differences in the tax treatment of losses vs. profits through a progressive rate structure and through the option to incorporate, and due to risk-sharing with the government. We then provide empirical evidence using U.S. individual tax return data that these aspects of the tax law have had large effects on actual behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger H. Gordon & Julie Berry Cullen, 2002. "Taxes and Entrepreneurial Activity: Theory and Evidence for the U.S," NBER Working Papers 9015, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9015
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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