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Heterogeneous Workers and Federal Income Taxes in a Spatial Equilibrium

Mark Colas and Kevin Hutchinson
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Mark Colas: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
Kevin Hutchinson: eBay Inc.

No 3, Working Papers from Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute

Abstract: This paper studies the incidence and efficiency of a progressive income tax in a spatial equilibrium. We use US census data to estimate an empirical spatial equilibrium with heterogeneous workers, landowners, and firms. The US income tax shifts skilled workers out of high-productivity cities, leading to a deadweight loss of 2% of tax revenue. Flattening the tax schedule significantly increases welfare inequality between skilled and unskilled workers and does not increase overall worker welfare, as the efficiency gains are captured by landowners. This suggests that progressive income taxes reduce welfare inequality without reducing total worker welfare.

Keywords: Tax incidence; Worker heterogeneity; Local labor markets (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H22 J31 R13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-lma, nep-pbe and nep-ure
Date: 2017-11-14
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:fip:fedmoi:0003

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DOI: 10.21034/iwp.3

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