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Trends and gradients in top tax elasticities: cross-country evidence, 1900–2014

Enrico Rubolino () and Daniel Waldenström ()
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Enrico Rubolino: University of Essex
Daniel Waldenström: Research Institute of Industrial Economics and Paris School of Economics, CEPR and IZA

International Tax and Public Finance, 2019, vol. 26, issue 3, 457-485

Abstract: Abstract We construct a cross-country dataset spanning 1900–2014 to estimate the tax elasticity of top incomes. Our results show that top tax elasticities vary tremendously over time; they were medium to low before 1950, dropped to almost zero during the postwar era and increased to unprecedented levels since 1980. We document a marked income gradient of increasing tax responsiveness at the top. Tax avoidance, especially income shifting between wage and capital income, appears to be one important driver of these patterns. Wars, financial crises, and country-specific effects and trends also have a bearing on top elasticities.

Keywords: Economic history; Income inequality; Taxation; D31; H21; H24; H26; N40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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