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On the Optimality of Joint Taxation for Non-Cooperative Couples

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  • Volker Meier

    ()

  • Helmut Rainer

    ()

Abstract

We present a non-cooperative model of a family’s time allocation between work and a home-produced public good, and examine whether the income tax should apply to couples or individuals. While tax-induced labor supply distortions lead to overprovision of the public good, spouses’ failure to internalize the collective effect of their choices points towards underprovision. A large parameter range exists for which a move from individual to joint taxation improves the welfare of both spouses. The source of Pareto-improvement consists in moving the level of the public good closer to its first-best, while an adjustment of intra-family transfers compensates the secondary earner for the increased tax load.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3128.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3128

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Keywords: individual taxation; joint taxation; household production; public goods;

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References

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  1. Apps,Patricia & Rees,Ray, 2009. "Public Economics and the Household," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521716284, Fall.
  2. Michael J. Boskin & Eytan Sheshinski, 1979. "Optimal Tax Treatment of the Family: Married Couples," NBER Working Papers 0368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Rainer, Helmut, 2007. "Should we write prenuptial contracts?," Munich Reprints in Economics 19819, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Helmut Rainer, 2005. "Should We Write Prenuptial Contracts?," Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics 200514, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews.
  5. Kleven, Henrik & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup & Saez, Emmanuel, 2006. "The Optimal Income Taxation of Couples," CEPR Discussion Papers 5978, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Pollak, Robert A, 1985. "A Transaction Cost Approach to Families and Households," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 581-608, June.
  7. Chen, Zhiqi & Woolley, Frances, 2001. "A Cournot-Nash Model of Family Decision Making," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(474), pages 722-48, October.
  8. Alberto Alesina & Andrea Ichino & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2007. "Gender Based Taxation and the Division of Family Chores," NBER Working Papers 13638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Patricia F. Apps & Ray Rees, 1999. "Individual versus Joint Taxation in Models with Household Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 393-403, April.
  10. Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2007. "The Taxation of Couples," CEPR Discussion Papers 559, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  11. Apps, Patricia & Rees, Ray, 2009. "Relational Contracts, Taxation and the Household," IZA Discussion Papers 4189, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Lundberg, S. & Pollak, R.A., 1991. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 91-08, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
  13. Apps, Patricia & Rees, Ray, 1999. "On the taxation of trade within and between households," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 241-263, August.
  14. Vicky Barham & Rose Anne Devlin, 2004. "A Theory of Rational Marriage and Divorce," Working Papers 0405E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  15. Dan Anderberg, 2007. "Inefficient households and the mix of government spending," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(1), pages 127-140, April.
  16. Volker Meier & Matthias Wrede, 2013. "Reducing the excess burden of subsidizing the stork: joint taxation, individual taxation, and family tax splitting," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 1195-1207, July.
  17. Imran Rasul, 2006. "The Economics of Child Custody," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(289), pages 1-25, 02.
  18. Piggott, John & Whalley, John, 1996. "The Tax Unit and Household Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 398-418, April.
  19. Konrad, Kai A & Lommerud, Kjell Erik, 1995. " Family Policy with Non-cooperative Families," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 581-601, December.
  20. Peter Gottfried & Wolfram Richter, 1999. "The Tax Unit and Household Production: Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 404-409, April.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Meier, Volker & Rainer, Helmut, 2013. "Beyond Ramsey: Gender-Based Taxation with Non-Cooperative Couples," Munich Reprints in Economics 19176, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Meier, Volker, 2013. "One-sided private provision of public goods with implicit Lindahl pricing," Munich Reprints in Economics 19181, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. Paula GOBBI, 2013. "Childcare and Commitment within Households," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2013019, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  4. Volker Meier & Matthias Wrede, 2013. "Reducing the excess burden of subsidizing the stork: joint taxation, individual taxation, and family tax splitting," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 1195-1207, July.
  5. Yu-Fu Chen & Michael Funke, 2010. "Global Warming and Extreme Events: Rethinking the Timing and Intensity of Environmental Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 3139, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Hans Fehr & Manuel Kallweit & Fabian Kindermann, 2013. "Reforming Family Taxation in Germany: Labor Supply vs. Insurance Effects," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 613, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  7. Volker Meier & Helmut Rainer, 2014. "Pigou Meets Ramsey: Gender-Based Taxation with Non-Cooperative Couples," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 179, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.

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