Household Behavior and the Tax Reform Act of 1986

35 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2007

See all articles by Jerry A. Hausman

Jerry A. Hausman

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

James M. Poterba

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics

Date Written: 1987

Abstract

This paper evaluates the effects of the 1986 Tax Reform Act on household labor supply and savings. It describes the tax bill's effects on incentives to work and to save, and uses recent econometric estimates of labor supply and savings elasticities to describe the reform's impact on household behavior. Two factors lead us to conclude that the new law will have small aggregate effects. First, most households experience only small changes in their marginal tax rates. Forty-one percent of the taxpaying population will face marginal tax rates as high, or higher, under the new law as under the previous tax code. Only eleven percent of taxpayers receive marginal tax rate reductions of ten percentage points or more. Second, plausible estimates of both the labor supply and savings elasticities suggest that even for those households that receive rate reductions, behavioral changes will be small. Our analysis suggests that the tax reform will increase labor supply by about one percent, and slightly reduce private savings.

Suggested Citation

Hausman, Jerry A. and Poterba, James M., Household Behavior and the Tax Reform Act of 1986 (1987). NBER Working Paper No. w2120. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=346943

Jerry A. Hausman (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
Room E52-271a
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-3644 (Phone)
617-253-1330 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

James M. Poterba

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
E52-350
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-253-6673 (Phone)
617-253-1330 (Fax)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
30
Abstract Views
537
PlumX Metrics