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It's all about tax rates: An empirical study of tax perception

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  • Blaufus, Kay
  • Bob, Jonathan
  • Hundsdoerfer, Jochen
  • Kiesewetter, Dirk
  • Weimann, Joachim

Abstract

In this paper we apply conjoint analysis to study the influence of changes in the tax rate and the tax base on the perceived tax burden. Our results show that the majority of individuals do not make rational tax decisions based on the actual tax burden, but rather use simple decision heuristics. This leads to the importance of the tax rate being significantly overestimated and the importance of the tax base being significantly underestimated. Furthermore we determine framing effects and show that under specific assumptions, a rise in the actual tax burden can lead to a electoral success.

Suggested Citation

  • Blaufus, Kay & Bob, Jonathan & Hundsdoerfer, Jochen & Kiesewetter, Dirk & Weimann, Joachim, 2010. "It's all about tax rates: An empirical study of tax perception," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 106, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:arqudp:106
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Haufler, Andreas & Schjelderup, Guttorm, 2000. "Corporate Tax Systems and Cross Country Profit Shifting," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(2), pages 306-325, April.
    2. de Bartolome, Charles A. M., 1995. "Which tax rate do people use: Average or marginal?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 79-96, January.
    3. Michael P. Devereux & Rachel Griffith & Alexander Klemm, 2002. "Corporate income tax reforms and international tax competition," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 17(35), pages 449-495, October.
    4. Thiess Buettner & Martin Ruf, 2007. "Tax incentives and the location of FDI: Evidence from a panel of German multinationals," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(2), pages 151-164, April.
    5. Raj Chetty & Adam Looney & Kory Kroft, 2009. "Salience and Taxation: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(4), pages 1145-1177, September.
    6. Rupert Sausgruber & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2005. "Testing the Mill hypothesis of fiscal illusion," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(1), pages 39-68, January.
    7. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J. & Johnston, Rachel M., 2005. "An experimental test of the crowding out hypothesis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(8), pages 1543-1560, August.
    8. Fujii, Edwin T & Hawley, Clifford B, 1988. "On the Accuracy of Tax Perceptions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(2), pages 344-347, May.
    9. Brannas, Kurt & Karlsson, Niklas, 1996. "Estimating the perceived tax scale within a labor supply model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 75-79, July.
    10. Rachel Griffith & Alexander Klemm, 2004. "What has been the tax competition experience of the past 20 years?," IFS Working Papers W04/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    11. Arrazola, Maria & de Hevia, Jose & Sanz, Jose F., 2000. "More on tax perception and labour supply: the Spanish case," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 15-21, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Houben, Henriette & Baumgarten, Jörg, 2011. "Krankt das deutsche Steuersystem am Mittelstandsbauch und der kalten Progession?," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 119, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    2. Sielaff, Christian, 2011. "Steuerkomplexität und Arbeitsangebot: Eine experimentelle Analyse," Discussion Papers 2011/13, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    behavioral public finance; decision heuristics; framing effects; perceived tax burden; tax-cut-cum-base-broadening; tax complexity; tax illusion;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • K34 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Tax Law
    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting

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