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Panel Data Techniques and the Elasticity of Taxable Income

  • Giertz, Seth

This paper examines the elasticity of taxable income with special focus on income controls designed to control for divergence in the income distribution and mean reversion. Additional emphasis is placed on the difference between short-run and longer-run responses to tax rate changes. Several panel techniques are applied to tax return data for years 1991 to 1997, followed by a cross-section analysis covering the same period. For each panel regression, an innovative inverted panel regression framework is employed to test the efficacy of the controls for mean reversion apart from controls for divergence in the income distribution. Finally, cross-section (and repeated cross-section) regressions are estimated for comparison. A major finding from comparing estimates from the standard and inverted panels is that even some of the more sophisticated techniques likely fail to adequately control for mean reversion at the top of the income distribution. Furthermore, the residual impact from mean reversion may still exert an enormous influence on elasticity estimates, which could help explain the lack of robustness reported in a number of papers in this literature. Analysis of cross-section data circumvents the problem of mean reversion and results in estimates that are robust with respect to sample income cutoffs. However when vast differences likely exist between those experiencing a specific change in tax rates and other filers, estimates relying on either panel or cross-section data are likely to be poorly identified.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/17600/1/MPRA_paper_17600.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 17600.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:17600
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  1. Robert A Moffitt & Mark Wilhelm, 2000. "Taxation and the Labor Supply - Decisions of the Affluent," Economics Working Paper Archive 414, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  2. Giertz, Seth, 2004. "Recent Literature on Taxable-Income Elasticities," MPRA Paper 16159, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Jon Gruber & Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income: Evidence and Implications," NBER Working Papers 7512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Giertz, Seth, 2005. "A Sensitivity Analysis of the Elasticity of Taxable Income," MPRA Paper 17601, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Austan Goolsbee, 2000. "What Happens When You Tax the Rich? Evidence from Executive Compensation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 352-378, April.
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