Discussion paper series // Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit 5145
The public finance literature demonstrates the equivalence between consumption and laborincome (wage) taxes. We introduce an experimental paradigm in which individuals make real labor-leisure choices and spend their earned income on real goods. We use this paradigm to test whether a labor-income tax and an equivalent consumption tax lead to identical laborleisure allocations. Despite controlling for subjects' work ability and inherent labor-leisure preferences and disallowing saving, subjects reduce their labor supply significantly more in response to an income tax than to an equivalent consumption tax. We discuss the economic implications of a policy shift to a consumption tax.
experimental economics tax equivalence income tax consumption tax behavioral economics