NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Taxes and Entrepreneurial Activity: Theory and Evidence for the U.S.

Roger H. Gordon, Julie Berry Cullen

NBER Working Paper No. 9015
Issued in June 2002
NBER Program(s):   CF   PE

Entrepreneurial activity is presumed to generate important spillovers, potentially justifying tax subsidies. How does the tax law affect individual incentives? How much of an impact has it had in practice? We first show theoretically that taxes can affect the incentives to be an entrepreneur due simply to differences in tax rates on business vs. wage and salary income, due to differences in the tax treatment of losses vs. profits through a progressive rate structure and through the option to incorporate, and due to risk-sharing with the government. We then provide empirical evidence using U.S. individual tax return data that these aspects of the tax law have had large effects on actual behavior.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9015

Published: Cullen, Julie Berry and Roger H. Gordon. “Taxes and entrepreneurial risk-taking: theory and evidence for the U.S." Journal of Public Economics 9, 7 (2007): 1479-505.

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