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Sufficient Statistic or Not? The Elasticity of Taxable Income in the Presence of Deduction Possibilities

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  • Siegloch, Sebastian
  • Doerrenberg, Philipp
  • Peichl, Andreas

Abstract

The elasticity of taxable income (ETI) is often interpreted as a sufficient statistic to assess the welfare costs of taxation. Building on the conceptual framework of Chetty (2009), we show that this assertion does no longer hold for tax systems with deduction possibilities if (i) deductions generate externalities and (ii) deductions are responsive to tax rate changes. While the first condition should arguably hold for almost any imaginable tax deduction, we provide a thorough empirical examination of the second condition. Relying on rich German panel data from administrative tax records, we exploit several tax reforms that were implemented in Germany between 2001 and 2008. Our baseline estimates indicate an overall ETI of 0.49 and an elasticity of deductions with respect to the net-of-tax rate of -2.80. Given that the majority of deductions in the German income tax system generate externalities, our non-zero deduction elasticity suggests that the ETI is not sufficient to calculate the welfare cost of taxation.

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  • Siegloch, Sebastian & Doerrenberg, Philipp & Peichl, Andreas, 2015. "Sufficient Statistic or Not? The Elasticity of Taxable Income in the Presence of Deduction Possibilities," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113076, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc15:113076
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    Cited by:

    1. Hakan Selin & Laurent Simula, 2017. "Income Creation and/or Income Shifting? The Intensive vs. the Extensive Shifting Margins," Post-Print halshs-01666994, HAL.
    2. Schächtele, Simeon, 2016. "The Importance of Deductions in Response to the Personal Income Tax: Bunching Evidence from Germany," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145748, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Blomquist, Sören & Simula, Laurent, 2010. "Marginal Deadweight Loss when the Income Tax is Nonlinear," Working Paper Series 2010:3, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    4. Nicole Bosch & Henk-Wim de Boer, 2017. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income for the Self-Employed: Heterogeneity across Reforms and Income Levels," CPB Discussion Paper 354, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    5. Kumar, Anil & Liang, Che-Yung, 2016. "Estimating Taxable Income Responses with Elasticity Heterogeneity," Working Papers 1611, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, revised 02 Mar 2018.
    6. Miyazaki, Takeshi & Ishida, Ryo, 2016. "Estimating the Elasticity of Taxable Income: Evidence from Top Japanese Taxpayers," MPRA Paper 74623, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Nicole Bosch & Vincent Dekker & Kristina Strohmaier, 2016. "A Data-Driven Procedure to Determine the Bunching Window - An Application to the Netherlands," CPB Discussion Paper 336, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    8. Dekker, Vincent & Strohmaier, Kristina & Bosch, Nicole, 2016. "A data-driven procedure to determine the bunching window: An application to the Netherlands," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 05-2016, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    9. Jarkko Harju & Tuomas Matikka, 2016. "The elasticity of taxable income and income-shifting: what is “real” and what is not?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(4), pages 640-669, August.
    10. repec:eee:pubeco:v:151:y:2017:i:c:p:41-55 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Håkan Selin & Laurent Simula, 2017. "Income Shifting as Income Creation? The Intensive vs. the Extensive Shifting Margins," CESifo Working Paper Series 6510, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Salvador Barrios & Francesco Figari & Luca Gandullia & Sara Riscado, 2016. "The fiscal and equity impact of tax expenditures in the European Union," JRC Working Papers on Taxation & Structural Reforms 2016-01, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    13. Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der Gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung (ed.), 2015. "Zukunftsfähigkeit in den Mittelpunkt. Jahresgutachten 2015/16," Annual Economic Reports / Jahresgutachten, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, volume 127, number 201516.
    14. Doerrenberg, Philipp & Peichl, Andreas & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2017. "The elasticity of taxable income in the presence of deduction possibilities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 41-55.

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    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
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation

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