Relocation of the Rich: Migration in Response to Top Tax Rate Changes from Spanish Reforms
72 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2016 Last revised: 8 Mar 2019
Date Written: April 1, 2018
A recent Spanish tax reform granted regions the authority to set income tax rates, resulting in substantial tax differentials. We use individual-level information from Social Security records over a period of one decade. Conditional on moving, taxes have a significant effect on location choice. A one percent increase in the net of tax rate for a region relative to others increases the probability of moving to that region by 1.7 percentage points. Focusing on the stock of top-taxpayers, we estimate an elasticity of the number of top taxpayers with respect to net-of-tax rates of 0.85. Using this elasticity, a theoretical model implies that the mechanical increase in tax revenue due to higher tax rates is larger than the loss in tax revenue from the out-flow of migration.
Keywords: Migration, Taxes, Mobility, Rich, Decentralization
JEL Classification: H24, H31, H73, J61, R23
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