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Bracket creeps: Bane or boon for the stability of numerical budget rules?

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  • Altemeyer-Bartscher, Martin
  • Zeddies, Götz

Abstract

As taxpayers typically pay low attention to a small inflation-induced bracket creep of the income tax, policy-makers tend to postpone its correction into the future. However, the fiscal illusion fades away and political pressure for a tax relief arises since after some years the cumulative increase of the average tax rate exceeds a critical threshold. Using Germany as an example, this paper shows that bracket creeps can provoke revenue cycles in public budgets hindering governments' compliance with the numerical budget rules. An indexation of the tax tariff could prevent such fluctuations and thus provides a favourable framework for the debt rule.

Suggested Citation

  • Altemeyer-Bartscher, Martin & Zeddies, Götz, 2017. "Bracket creeps: Bane or boon for the stability of numerical budget rules?," IWH Discussion Papers 29/2016, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:iwhdps:292016
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    progressive income taxes; bracket creep; political budget cycles; debt brake;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt

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