Title

Social Preferences and Tax Policy Design: Some Experimental Evidence

Department

Economics, Finance, & Quantitative Analysis

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-2007

Abstract

This article reports the results of a set of experiments designed to examine whether a taste for fairness affects people’s preferred tax structure. Using the Fehr and Schmidt model, we devise a simple test for the presence of social preferences in voting for alternative tax structures. The experimental results show that individuals demonstrate concern for their own payoff and inequality aversion in choosing between alternative tax structures. However, concern for redistribution decreases as the deadweight loss from progressive taxation increases. Our findings have important implications for tax policy design.