What we do...

We apply large-scale online surveys in many countries to understand how people think, how they form their perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes, and how their views on economic and social policies emerge. These Social Economics Surveys are rigorous research tools that can shed light on what is invisible in other data: perceptions, beliefs, reasoning, attitudes, views, and detailed individual economic circumstances.

This study explores how people understand, reason, and learn about tax policy to uncover the mental models that people use to think about income and estate taxes. Questions are designed to address the three main factors emphasized in our core tax model that can shape support for or opposition to taxes: efficiency effects, distributional implications, and fairness considerations.

There are partisan divergences not just in the final policy views, but also in reasonings about the underlying mechanisms and most starkly on the fairness considerations. Support for tax policy is most strongly correlated with views on the benefits of redistribution and fairness, as well as with views of the government, while efficiency concerns play a more minor role.