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Is an inequality-neutral flat tax reform really neutral?

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Let us assume a revenue- and inequality-neutral flat tax reform shifting from a graduated-rate tax. Is this reform really distributional neutral? Traditionally, there has been a bias toward the inequality analysis, forgetting other relevant aspects of the income distribution. This kind of reforms implies a set of composite transfers, both progressive and regressive, even though inequality remains unchanged. This paper shows that polarization is a useful tool for characterizing this set of transfers caused by inequality-neutral tax reforms. A simulation exercise illustrates how polarization can be used to discriminate between two inequality-neutral tax alternatives.

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Paper provided by Centro de Estudios Andaluces in its series Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces with number E2004/43.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cea:doctra:e2004_43

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Keywords: polarization; inequality; flat tax;

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  1. Aaberge, Rolf, 2008. "Ranking Intersecting Lorenz Curves," IZA Discussion Papers 3852, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Buhmann, Brigitte, et al, 1988. "Equivalence Scales, Well-Being, Inequality, and Poverty: Sensitivity Estimates across Ten Countries Using the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(2), pages 115-42, June.
  3. Coulter, Fiona A E & Cowell, Frank A & Jenkins, Stephen P, 1992. "Differences in Needs and Assessment of Income Distributions," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 77-124, April.
  4. Russell Davidson & Jean-Yves Duclos, 2000. "Statistical Inference for Stochastic Dominance and for the Measurement of Poverty and Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(6), pages 1435-1464, November.
  5. Davies James & Hoy Michael, 1994. "The Normative Significance of Using Third-Degree Stochastic Dominance in Comparing Income Distributions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 520-530, December.
  6. Cowell, Frank A. & Victoria-Feser, Maria-Pia, 1996. "Poverty measurement with contaminated data: A robust approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1761-1771, December.
  7. Steven P. Cassou & Kevin J. Lansing, 2004. "Growth Effects of Shifting from a Graduated-rate Tax System to a Flat Tax," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(2), pages 194-213, April.
  8. Davies, James B. & Hoy, Michael, 2002. "Flat rate taxes and inequality measurement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 33-46, April.
  9. Davies, James & Hoy, Michael, 1995. "Making Inequality Comparisons When Lorenz Curves Intersect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 980-86, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Juan Prieto-Rodríguez & Juan Gabriel Rodríguez & Rafael Salas, . "Interactions Inequality-Polarization: Characterization Results(*)," Working Papers 15-05 Classification-JEL , Instituto de Estudios Fiscales.

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