Video | 2021

Property Taxes: Effective, But Regressive? A Review of the Evidence

Property taxes account for about 3% of GDP in Canada and the United States, yet our understanding of who bears the burden of the tax is unclear. There are two economic theories of the incidence of the property tax – one that leads to the conclusion that it is a regressive tax (one that falls disproportionately on low-income households) and another that suggests that it is a progressive tax (falling more heavily on those with higher incomes).

This presentation by IMFG Graduate Fellow, Devin Bissky Dziadyk, reviewed the decades of research on the property tax, and provided new estimates of the incidence of the tax in Canada. Most estimates suggest that the property tax is regressive. If so, what does the regressivity of the property tax imply for cities, and do we need to reform the property tax to make it fairer?


Devin Bissky Dziadyk is the recipient of the 2020-21 Graduate Fellowship in Municipal Finance and Governance. He is a PhD student at the University of Toronto in the Department of Economics. He previously worked with Finances of the Nation, a project to assemble Canadian public finance data and make it more accessible. Devin has also worked in the tech industry in Toronto, and in particle physics research. Prior to his PhD studies, Devin completed an MA in Economics at the University of Toronto, and a BSc in Physics and Economics at McGill University. His research focusses on the incidence of the property tax, and tax schemes designed to improve the equity of property taxes.

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