NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Lifetime Incidence of State and Local Taxes: Measuring Changes During the 1980s

Gilbert E. Metcalf

NBER Working Paper No. 4252
Issued in January 1993
NBER Program(s):   PE

I compute the lifetime tax incidence of the major state and local taxes used in the United States during the 1980s. Using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey, I show that over the life cycle, general sales taxes are progressive and equally as progressive as state and local income taxes. While the progressivity of sales taxes has not changed between 1984 and 1989, income taxes have become less progressive over that five-year period. Property taxes on the other hand have become more progressive. The system of state and local taxes is mildly progressive the life cycle and has become slightly more progressive between 1984 and 1989. Finally. eliminating deductibility for sales taxes in 1986 appears to have had little effect on the overall progressivity of the tax system.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w4252

Published: Tax Progressivity and Income Inequality, ed. Joel Slemrod, Cambridge University Press, 1994.

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