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Capital Tax Incidence: First Impressions from the Time Series

  • Casey B. Mulligan

Aggregate time series data are used to calculate the incidence of capital taxes. Part of the analysis is borrowed from the literature on sales tax incidence, comparing pre-tax interest rates with tax rates. The other part compares tax rates with after-tax interest rates, which are measured separately and independently from pre-tax interest rates. I find a positive correlation between capital tax rates and pre-tax interest rates, and little correlation between after-tax interest rates and tax rates, but both of these findings seem to derive in part from the effect of the business cycle on tax rate measures, as opposed to a shifting of capital taxes. The empirical findings are consistent with significant capital tax shifting in the long run, little shifting in the short run, and clearly rule out over-shifting.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9374.

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Date of creation: Dec 2002
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9374
Note: EFG PE
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  1. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Razin, Assaf & Tesar, Linda L., 1994. "Effective tax rates in macroeconomics: Cross-country estimates of tax rates on factor incomes and consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 297-323, December.
  2. Arnold C. Harberger, 1962. "The Incidence of the Corporation Income Tax," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 215.
  3. Feldstein, Martin & Dicks-Mireaux, Louis & Poterba, James, 1983. "The effective tax rate and the pretax rate of return," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 129-158, July.
  4. Besley, Timothy J. & Rosen, Harvey S., 1999. "Sales Taxes and Prices: An Empirical Analysis," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 2), pages 157-78, June.
  5. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Supply-Side Economics: An Analytical Review," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 293-316, April.
  6. William N. Evans & Jeanne S. Ringel & Diana Stech, 1999. "Tobacco Taxes and Public Policy to Discourage Smoking," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 13, pages 1-56 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Alan J. Auerbach, 1983. "Corporate Taxation in the United States," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 14(2), pages 451-514.
  8. Jason G. Cummins & Kevin A. Hassett & R. Glenn Hubbard, 1994. "A Reconsideration of Investment Behavior Using Tax Reforms as Natural Experiments," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 1-74.
  9. Martin Feldstein & Lawrence Summers, 1983. "Inflation, Tax Rules, and the Long-term Interest Rate," NBER Chapters, in: Inflation, Tax Rules, and Capital Formation, pages 153-185 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Casey B. Mulligan, 2002. "Capital, Interest, and Aggregate Intertemporal Substitution," NBER Working Papers 9373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Martin Feldstein & Lawrence Summers, 1977. "Is the Rate of Profit Falling?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 8(1), pages 211-228.
  12. Poterba, James M., 1996. "Retail Price Reactions to Changes in State and Local Sales Taxes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(2), pages 165-76, June.
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