How Taxes Affect Economic Behavior

By Henry J. Aaron; Joseph A. Pechman | Go to book overview

JERRY A. HAUSMAN


Labor Supply

ALTHOUGH income and payroll taxes account for 75 percent of federal revenues, most economists have concluded that they cause little reduction in the supply of labor and do little harm to economic efficiency. The results of this study contradict that comforting view. Direct taxes on income and earnings significantly reduce labor supply and economic efficiency. Moreover, the replacement of the present tax structure by a rate structure that proportionally taxes income above an exempt amount would eliminate nearly all of the distortion of labor supply and more than half of the economic waste caused by tax-induced distortions.

Income taxes, in principle, can cause people to work either more or less. Taxes lower the net wage and reduce the labor supply through the compensated substitution effect. But taxes also reduce income, causing people to consume less of all normal goods, including leisure. Thus taxation of labor income can well lead to either more work effort or less. Besides the direction of change, of interest is the size of the effect. One task of this paper is to measure the effect of the existing tax system and of alternative tax systems on the supply of labor.

This paper also reports estimates of the effect of the current tax system on individual welfare. It is a common misconception to assume that a tax is not distortionary if it has little or no effect on market behavior. On the contrary, taxes affect economic efficiency through the compensated substitution effect. If the income effect and the substitution effect offset each other exactly, a tax could still leave individuals much worse off than

____________________
I am grateful to Henry Aaron, Cary Brown, Peter Diamond, and Dan Holland for helpful suggestions; to Margaret Tsang, John Hamilton, and Paul Ruud for research assistance; and to the National Science Foundation for research support.

-27-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
How Taxes Affect Economic Behavior
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 456

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.