Friday, December 21, 2007

Some Snippets of Economic Research on Taxes

Sure to enlighten and enrage, I offer them without comment at this point. Food for thought.

“The Effect of Personal Income Tax Rates on Individual and Business Decisions - A Review of the Evidence”
By Mark Rider
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies
International Studies Program Working Paper 6-15

“…there is a large body of evidence that high state [personal income tax] rates have a negative effect on business and individual decisions and thus slow the growth of state employment and personal income. Consequently, states must use care in setting state [personal income tax] rates to make sure they are not out of line with those of their neighbors and other competitor states.”

Page iv.

“Tax Policy and Entrepreneurial Entry”
By William M. Gentry; R. Glenn Hubbard
The American Economic Review, Vol. 90, No. 2 (May, 2000), pp. 283-287.

“While progressive taxation could in principle encourage entry via insurance for risk-averse entrepreneurs through the tax system or through offering greater incentive to avoid taxes on self-employment income, we find no evidence to support such channels. Our empirical results imply a significant increase in entrepreneurial entry when tax rates are less progressive; whether such encouragement is efficient (that is, stimulating the most talented entrepreneurs) is a topic for future research.”

Page 283

Can state taxes redistribute income?
By Feldstein, Martin & Wrobel, Marian Vaillant
Journal of Public Economics, Vol. 68(3), (June1998), pp. 369-396.


“The evidence presented in this paper supports the basic theoretical presumption that state and local governments cannot redistribute income. Since individuals can avoid unfavorable taxes by migrating to jurisdictions that offer more favorable tax conditions, a relatively unfavorable tax will cause gross wages to adjust until the resulting net wage is equal to that available elsewhere. The current empirical findings go beyond confirming this long-run tendency and show that gross wages adjust rapidly to the changing tax environment. Thus, states cannot redistribute income for a period of even a few years. The adjustment of gross wages to tax rates implies that a more progressive tax system raises the cost to firms of hiring more highly skilled employees and reduces the cost of lower skilled labor. A more progressive tax thus induces firms to hire fewer high skilled employees and to hire more low skilled employees. Since state taxes cannot alter net wages, there can be no trade- off at the state level between distribution goals and economic efficiency. Shifts in state tax progressivity, by altering the structure of employment in the state and distorting the mix of labor inputs used by firms in the state, create deadweight efficiency losses without achieving any net redistribution of income.”

“The Effect of State and Local Taxes on Economic Growth: A Time Series--Cross
Section Approach”
By L. Jay Helms
The Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 67, No. 4. (Nov., 1985), pp. 574-582.


“Results based on pooled time series and cross section data are presented, which indicate that state and local tax increases significantly retard economic growth when the revenue is used to fund transfer payments. However, when the revenue is used instead to finance improved public services(such as education, highways, and public health and safety) the favorable impact on location and production decisions provided by the enhanced services may more than counter balance the disincentive effects of the associated taxes. These findings underscore the importance of considering the incentives provided by a state's expenditures as well as by its taxes.”


darrelplant said...
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Stevelle said...
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Stevelle said...

Indeed, the Swiss state of Obwalden is a charming example of same.

A very interesting turn, indeed.

As regards the last snippet, I feel that measuring for "economic growth" is perhaps ... too simplistic.

As much as folks tut tut about "transfer payments," it buys social stability.

Maximizing economic growth may not be the greatest benefit we can strive for, though that dances a fine line of no longer being about economics.

darrelplant said...
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Stevelle said...

Darrel, I was specifically trying to invoke the new flat tax. With the canton being so small it seems reasonable to expect a magnified effect in attracting wealthier residents.

darrelplant said...
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Stevelle said...

Darrel, I'm not sure if you think we disagree on these points or not. When I said 'charming' regarding a local flat tax, I was not being literal.