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Mobility and Progressive Taxation

Author

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  • Marcus Roller

    ()

  • Kurt Schmidheiny

Abstract

In fiscally centralised countries with a unique country-wide income tax schedule, it is straightforward to quantify the degree of progressivity. In fiscally decentralised countries with varying local tax schedules, however, this is not the case. In these countries, the effective tax progressivity depends on the distribution of taxpayers across local jurisdiction as well as on local income distributions. The latter might differ systematically because high income households can partly or fully avoid high tax rates by sorting into low tax locations. This paper develops an empirical approach in order to quantify the effective tax progressivity in a fiscally highly decentralised country - Switzerland - taking the relative size of jurisdictions and the actually observed income sorting into account. Exploiting data on the universe of Swiss taxpayers, we find that rich households face significantly lower tax rates and lower progressivity than in the benchmark case that does not take the income sorting into account. The results are stronger for singles than for families indicating that singles are more sensitive to tax differentials than families. Furthermore, we find suggestive evidence that due to this income sorting the Swiss income tax system is not only less progressive but even regressive for single households with very high incomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcus Roller & Kurt Schmidheiny, 2014. "Mobility and Progressive Taxation," ERSA conference papers ersa14p1354, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa14p1354
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    File URL: http://www-sre.wu.ac.at/ersa/ersaconfs/ersa14/e140826aFinal01354.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1973. "Some further results on the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 188-204, April.
    2. Dennis Epple & Holger Sieg, 1999. "Estimating Equilibrium Models of Local Jurisdictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 645-681, August.
    3. Hardman, Anna & Ioannides, Yannis M., 2004. "Neighbors' income distribution: economic segregation and mixing in US urban neighborhoods," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 368-382, December.
    4. Schmidheiny, Kurt, 2006. "Income segregation and local progressive taxation: Empirical evidence from Switzerland," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(3), pages 429-458, February.
    5. Schmidheiny, Kurt, 2006. "Income segregation and local progressive taxation: Empirical evidence from Switzerland," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(3), pages 429-458, February.
    6. R. A. Musgrave & Tun Thin, 1948. "Income Tax Progression, 1929-48," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 498-498.
    7. Roland Hodler & Kurt Schmidheiny, 2006. "How Fiscal Decentralization Flattens Progressive Taxes," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 62(2), pages 281-304, June.
    8. Schmidheiny, Kurt, 2006. "Income segregation from local income taxation when households differ in both preferences and incomes," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 270-299, March.
    9. Ioannides, Yannis M., 2004. "Neighborhood income distributions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 435-457, November.
    10. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    11. Jakobsson, Ulf, 1976. "On the measurement of the degree of progression," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1-2), pages 161-168.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Progressive Taxation; Fiscal Decentralisation; Income Segregation;

    JEL classification:

    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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