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Do People Really Dislike Wealth Taxes more than Other Types of Taxes? Evidence from a Survey-Experiment Representative of the Italian Population

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Abstract

We designed a Survey Experiment (SE) to study the attitudes of the Italians towards wealth, income and consumptions taxes. In particular, we interviewed a sample of 2,400 subjects drawn from a larger representative pool of 120,000 individuals. Beside collecting information about individuals’ values and beliefs, the survey also gathered information about (i) the preferred tax base, (ii) the attitudes towards replacing all the taxes with a unique tax, possibly on wealth, (iii) the views in regard to proposals to increase public expenditure by resorting to taxes of various kind and in different scenarios. We find that wealth taxes are definitely preferred to consumption taxes and that this preference is at par with income taxation. Wealth taxes are justified by the fact that they reflect one’s ability to pay. Opposition emerges when it is feared that wealth taxes end up increasing tax pressure and when the value of the main residence is included in the tax base. Political inclinations play a minor role.

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  • Sergio Beraldo & Enrico Colombatto, 2023. "Do People Really Dislike Wealth Taxes more than Other Types of Taxes? Evidence from a Survey-Experiment Representative of the Italian Population," CSEF Working Papers 671, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:671
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Arun Advani & Hannah Tarrant, 2021. "Behavioural responses to a wealth tax," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 42(3-4), pages 509-537, September.
    2. Beraldo, Sergio & Piacenza, Massimiliano & Turati, Gilberto, 2022. "The importance of the future when deciding levels of personal responsibility and demand for redistribution," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 116(C).
    3. Emmanuel Saez & Joel Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 3-50, March.
    4. Florian Scheuer & Joel Slemrod, 2021. "Taxing Our Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 207-230, Winter.
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    6. Sarah Perret, 2021. "Why were most wealth taxes abandoned and is this time different?," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 42(3-4), pages 539-563, September.
    7. Stuart Adam & Helen Miller, 2021. "The economic arguments for and against a wealth tax," Fiscal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 42(3-4), pages 457-483, September.
    8. Stefanie Stantcheva, 2021. "Understanding Tax Policy: How do People Reason?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 136(4), pages 2309-2369.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wealth taxes; Survey Experiment.;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies

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