On Estimating Marginal Tax Rates and Tax Progressivities for U.S. States
This research presents a simple procedure for improving state-specific estimates of marginal tax rates (MTR’s). Most research employing MTR’s follows a procedure developed by Koester and Kormendi (K&K, 1987). Unfortunately, the time-invariant nature of the K&K estimates precludes their use as explanatory variables in panel data studies. Furthermore, their estimates are not based on statutory tax parameters. In contrast, our procedure produces timevarying estimates of MTR’s that are directly related to observed changes in statutory tax parameters. Using comprehensive data on state tax policy parameters, our procedure produces state-specific MTR’s estimates for all 50 states over the years 1977-2004. We compare our refined MTR’s to alternative estimates and evaluate implications for estimating tax progressivity for US states.