Homer gets a tax cut – or maybe Mr Burns? Political Trust and Public Attitudes towards Environmental and Other Taxes
Sami Mustikkamaa, University of Turku, håller i seminariet.
Abstract Taxes fund public programs, shape inequalities in society, and influence the behaviours of individuals and firms. Yet, despite the fact that public attitudes shape tax policies, there is not much literature on people's tax policy preferences, and where they come from. A partial exception is the area of environment, where a number of studies have examined attitudes towards pollution taxes specifically, and found they are substantially influenced by people's political trust. In this paper, we examine public attitudes towards taxation – including but not only the taxation of pollution – generally. We find, using data from a bespoke survey in four European countries, that taxing large businesses and people with high incomes is popular, while environmental taxes and taxes on low- and middle income earners and small businesses are less so. Attitudes towards environmental taxes closely resemble attitudes towards taxes on individuals with low and medium incomes, and all of these are more popular among individuals with higher political trust. In contrast, attitudes towards taxes on corporations and individuals with high incomes are distinct, including in being less popular among individuals with higher political trust. Our study brings together previously distinct literatures on environmental policy attitudes and attitudes towards taxation and redistribution.