DP11342 Taxing Wealth: Evidence from Switzerland

Author(s): Marius Brülhart, Jonathan Gruber, Matthias Krapf, Kurt Schmidheiny
Publication Date: June 2016
Keyword(s): Behavioral Responses, Switzerland, Wealth Taxation
JEL(s): H24, H31, H73
Programme Areas: Public Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11342

We study the effects of wealth taxation on reported wealth. Our analysis is based on data for Switzerland, which has the highest rate of annual wealth taxation in the developed world. While the wealth tax base is defined at the federal level, tax rates vary considerably across locations and over time. We use aggregate data on wealth holdings by canton and individual-level data for the canton of Bern. Our estimated behavioral elasticities substantially exceed those of the taxable income literature. We also find that taxpayers bunch below the tax threshold, that observed responses are driven by changes in wealth holdings rather than mobility, and that financial wealth is somewhat more responsive than non-financial wealth.