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Do tax and expenditure limitations exacerbate rising income inequality?

Steven Deller, Craig Maher and Judith Stallmann

Economics and Politics, 2021, vol. 33, issue 3, 611-643

Abstract: In recent years, there has been a growing body of literature on the determinants of income inequality and a developing literature on tax and expenditure limitations (TELs). This study connects the two and asks the question—to what extent have state fiscal policies such as TELs impacted income equality? Using a panel of states from 1992 to 2010, we find consistent evidence that more restrictive tax and expenditure limitations exacerbate rising income inequality. Whether TELs are intentionally or unintentionally designed for such an effect is unclear, but what is clear is that these limitations placed on state governments limit their ability to implement policies that could have the potential to reduce income inequality.

Date: 2021
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