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Taxation and top incomes in Canada


  • Milligan, Kevin
  • Smart, Michael


We estimate the elasticity of reported income with respect to tax rates for high earners using sub-national variation across Canadian provinces. We argue this allows for better identification of tax elasticities than the existing literature. We find that elasticities of reported income at the provincial level are large for incomes in the top one percent, but small for lower earners. There are strong indications that the response happens both through earned and capital income. While our estimated elasticities are large, changes in tax rates cannot explain much of the overall long-run trend of higher income concentration in Canada.

Suggested Citation

  • Milligan, Kevin & Smart, Michael, 2014. "Taxation and top incomes in Canada," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2014-52, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 25 Nov 2014.
  • Handle: RePEc:ubc:clssrn:clsrn_admin-2014-52

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Atkinson, Tony & Leigh, Andrew, 2010. "The Distribution of Top Incomes in Five Anglo-Saxon Countries over the Twentieth Century," IZA Discussion Papers 4937, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Liam C. Malloy, 2016. "Do Lower Top Marginal Tax Rates Slow the Income Growth of Workers?," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 30(1), pages 61-87, March.
    2. repec:jid:journl:y:2017:v:25:i:1:p:1-25 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    income concentration; income taxation; taxable income elasticity;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

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