Distributional Effects of Adopting a National Retail Sales Tax
64 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2000 Last revised: 4 Oct 2010
Date Written: January 1997
This paper describes a new household-level data file based on merged information from the IRS Individual Tax File, the Current Population Survey, the National Medical Expenditure Survey, and the Consumer Expenditure Survey. This new file includes descriptive data on household income as well as consumption. The data file can be linked to the NBER TAXSIM program and used to evaluate the distributional effects of changing the federal income tax code, as well as the distributional effects of replacing the individual income tax with a consumption tax. We use this data file to analyze the long-run distributional effects of adopting a national retail sales tax that raises enough revenue to replace the current federal individual income tax and corporation income tax, as well as federal estate and gift taxes. Our results highlight the sensitivity of the change in distributional burdens to provisions such as lump sum transfers, sometimes called 'demogrants,' the retail sales tax plan, and to the choice between income and consumption as a basis for categorizing households in distribution tables.
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