Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Opinion
Noah Smith

Do Higher Taxes Make Us Work Less?

Higher income taxes may not make us want to work less.
Can you spot the incentive to work here?

Can you spot the incentive to work here?

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

In 2010, Harvard economist N. Gregory Mankiw wrote a column in the New York Times warning that if taxes go up, he and people like him will work less: 

Now, Mankiw’s numbers include a little bit of dodgy math, because if there were no taxes, his pretax wage rate would be lower. But the basic point -- that taxes reduce the incentive to work -- is true.