NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Keith Gladstone

Department of Economics
Princeton, NJ 08544

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

October 2017Do Americans Want to Tax Capital? Evidence from Online Surveys
with Raymond Fisman, Ilyana Kuziemko, Suresh Naidu: w23907
A vast theoretical literature in public finance has studied the question of the desirability of capital taxation. Distinct from questions of the optimality of taxing wealth is whether it is politically feasible. We provide, to our knowledge, the first investigation of individuals' preferences over jointly taxing income and wealth, via a survey on Amazon's Mechanical Turk. We provide subjects with a set of hypothetical individuals' incomes and wealth and elicit subjects' preferred (absolute) tax bill for these individuals. Our method allows us to unobtrusively map both income earned and accumulated wealth into desired tax levels. Our regression results yield roughly linear desired tax rates on income of about 14 percent. Respondents' suggested tax rates indicate positive desired wealth tax...
 
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