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Don't tax me? Determinants of individual attitudes toward progressive taxation


  • Heinemann, Friedrich
  • Hennighausen, Tanja


This contribution empirically analyses the individual determinants of tax rate preferences. For that purpose we make use of the representative German General Social Survey (ALLBUS) that offers data on the individual attitudes toward progressive, proportional, and regressive taxation. Our theoretical considerations suggest that beyond self-interest, information, fairness considerations, economic beliefs and several other individual factors drive individual preferences for tax rate structures. Our empirical results indicate that the self-interest view does not offer the sole explanation for the heterogeneity in attitudes toward progressive taxation. Rather, we show that the choice of the favoured tax rate is also driven by fairness considerations.

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  • Heinemann, Friedrich & Hennighausen, Tanja, 2010. "Don't tax me? Determinants of individual attitudes toward progressive taxation," ZEW Discussion Papers 10-017, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:10017

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    2. Ana I. Moro Egido & Angel Solano Garcia, 2015. "The Ends Against the Middle. Attitudes Towards Taxation," ThE Papers 15/03, Department of Economic Theory and Economic History of the University of Granada..
    3. Stefan Bach, 2014. ""Reichensteuer"-Diskussion: Hintergrund und Perspektiven," DIW Roundup: Politik im Fokus 16, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    4. Philipp Doerrenberg & Andreas Peichl, 2013. "Progressive taxation and tax morale," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 155(3), pages 293-316, June.
    5. Alfons J. Weichenrieder & Friedrich Schneider & Norbert Walter-Borjans & Michael Meister & Lukas Hakelberg & Thomas Rixen & Jörg R. Werner, 2016. "Panama Papers: Steueroasen im Visier - was ist noch legal, welche Mittel wirken gegen Missbrauch?," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 69(11), pages 03-20, June.
    6. Dilla, Diana, 2017. "Staatsverschuldung und Verschuldungsmentalität
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    7. Hans Pitlik & Gerhard Schwarz & Barbara Bechter & Bernd Brandl, 2011. "Near Is My Shirt but Nearer Is My Skin: Ideology or Self‐Interest as Determinants of Public Opinion on Fiscal Policy Issues," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(2), pages 271-290, May.
    8. Pántya, József & Kovács, Judit & Kogler, Christoph & Kirchler, Erich, 2016. "Work performance and tax compliance in flat and progressive tax systems," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 262-273.
    9. Stiftung Familienunternehmen (ed.), 2012. "Der Weg zu einer "Agenda 2030": Reformen zwischen objektiver Notwendigkeit und individueller Verweigerung," ZEW Expertises, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research, number 110562.
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    11. Paula Casal, 2012. "Progressive Environmental Taxation: A Defence," Political Studies, Political Studies Association, vol. 60(2), pages 419-433, June.
    12. Balamatsias, Pavlos, 2016. "Democracy and taxation," MPRA Paper 82563, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 31 Oct 2017.
    13. Elke D. Groh & Andreas Ziegler, 2017. "On self-interested preferences for burden sharing rules: An econometric analysis for the costs of energy policy measures," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201754, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    14. Vaubel Roland, 2010. "Freiheit in Deutschland: Wettbewerb der Staaten, Einfluss der Kirche, amerikanisches Erbe – Versuch einer historischen Erklärung – / Freedom in Germany: Interjurisdictional Competition, the Influence ," ORDO. Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, De Gruyter, vol. 61(1), pages 53-74, January.
    15. Fatica, Serena, 2011. "Preferences for redistribution, the size of government and the tax system," MPRA Paper 29782, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    tax progression; policy preferences; fairness; ALLBUS;

    JEL classification:

    • H89 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Other
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • C42 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Survey Methods
    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values

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