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Are We Taxing Ourselves? How Deliberation and Experience Shape Voting on Taxes

We let consumers vote on tax regimes in experimental markets. We test if taxes on sellers are more popular than taxes on consumers, i.e. on voters themselves, even if taxes on sellers are inefficiently high. Taxes on sellers are more popular if voters underestimate the extent of tax shifting in the market. We show that inexperienced voters are prone to such a tax-shifting bias, that experience is an effective de-biasing mechanism, but that pre-vote deliberation about tax regimes makes initially held opinions more extreme rather than correct. Our results suggest that voting on taxes is prone to bias and that easy-to-interpret facts are needed to de-bias voters.

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Paper provided by University of Vienna, Department of Economics in its series Vienna Economics Papers with number 1010.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:vie:viennp:1010
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