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Can State Tax Policy Increase Economic Activity and Reduce Inequality?

Harvey Cutler, Martin Shields and Stephen Davies

Growth and Change, 2018, vol. 49, issue 1, 142-164

Abstract: Previous research shows that when changes in national commodity and income tax rates affect labor supply decisions differently, relative rates can be altered to increase welfare. In the U.S., 40 states impose both a sales and income tax; however, the reliance varies widely. This paper uses a computable general equilibrium model to examine tax policy changes in Colorado. The findings suggest that the revenue neutral changes to income and sales tax rates can affect both the level of economic activity and the distribution of income. When labor force participation is highly sensitive to income tax rate changes—which this paper suggests is the case—progressive changes to Colorado's tax policy changes can both reduce inequality and increase output and employment.

Date: 2018
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