Lifetime vs. Annual Perspectives on Tax Incidence

29 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2007

See all articles by Don Fullerton

Don Fullerton

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Finance; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Diane Lim Rogers

Joint Economic Committee, Democratic Staff

Date Written: June 1991

Abstract

Recent academic research on tax incidence has shifted from an emphasis on static and annual perspectives to examinations of dynamic and lifetime issues. Meanwhile, policy economists are forced to rely on annual data and hence annual analyses. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the nature and analysis of lifetime tax incidence, and to compare and contrast this lifetime perspective with the more familiar annual perspective. In our comparison, we find that (1) the lifetime perspective requires much more data over longer periods of time, because results depends critically on the whole shape of the lifetime earnings profile, (2) individuals classified by annual income decile are often reclassified into very different lifetime income deciles, (3) the personal income tax and corporate income tax appear less progressive on a lifetime basis, while consumption taxes appear less regressive on a lifetime basis, and (4) despite the different approaches and the different reasons underlying the incidence of each particular tax, the lifetime incidence of the entire U.S. tax system is strikingly similar to the annual incidence.

Suggested Citation

Fullerton, Don and Lim Rogers, Diane, Lifetime vs. Annual Perspectives on Tax Incidence (June 1991). NBER Working Paper No. w3750. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=473928

Don Fullerton (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Finance ( email )

1206 South Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
(217) 244-3621 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Diane Lim Rogers

Joint Economic Committee, Democratic Staff ( email )

Ford House Office Building
2nd & D Streets, SW
Washington, DC 20515
United States
202 224 5171 (Phone)

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