One Hundred Years of U.S. State Taxation

92 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2023

See all articles by Sarah Robinson

Sarah Robinson

Claremont McKenna College

Alisa Tazhitdinova

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)

Date Written: December 20, 2023


We analyze the evolution of U.S. state tax rates since 1910 and state tax revenues since 1942. Our analysis demonstrates that, in aggregate, state tax policies are stable in many aspects. They exhibit similar levels of tax rate variation, personal and corporate income tax progressivity, and tax change frequency and simultaneity over time. These aggregate patterns hold despite the fact that tax policies exhibit a large degree of variability both across states and within each state over time. Furthermore, state tax policy is not very persistent -- the set of states with relatively high tax rates or large tax changes evolves rapidly. We do not observe a consistent relationship between state and federal tax policies, and show that the relationship between tax rates and revenues varies by tax type and over time.

Keywords: state taxes, federal taxes, fiscal federalism, income tax, corporate tax, sales tax, cigarette tax, alcohol tax, gasoline tax

JEL Classification: D72, H20, H71, H73, H77, N32

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Sarah and Tazhitdinova, Alisa, One Hundred Years of U.S. State Taxation (December 20, 2023). Available at SSRN: or

Sarah Robinson

Claremont McKenna College ( email )

Claremont, CA 91711
United States


Alisa Tazhitdinova (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) ( email )

South Hall 5504
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
United States

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