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Beyond Ramsey: Gender-Based Taxation with Non-Cooperative Couples

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  • Volker Meier

    ()

  • Helmut Rainer

    ()

Abstract

This paper explores the implications of gender-based income taxation in a non- cooperative model of a couple’s time allocation between market work and providing a household public good. We find that the optimal structure of differential taxation by gender is solely determined by spouses’ relative marginal rates of substitution between the public household good and private consumption. Breaking down this general rule into the primitives of the model, the spouse with a lower personal valuation of the public household good should be taxed at a higher rate. If these valuations are identical, a comparative advantage in home production relative to market work will imply a higher marginal tax rate. Using a realistic calibration, we show that these two results may combine to imply a higher optimal tax rate on female labor supply. This result stands in sharp contrast to previous models of gender-based taxation in which households select Pareto efficient allocations. Extending the model to include altruistic preferences, leisure, or human capital accumulation reduces optimal tax rates, while sequential labor supply decisions affect the optimal tax rate of the primary earner in an ambiguous direction.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3966.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3966

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Keywords: gender-based taxation; non-cooperative family decision-making;

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References

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  1. Cochard, François & Couprie, Hélène & Hopfensitz, Astrid, 2009. "Do Spouses Cooperate? And If Not: Why?," TSE Working Papers 09-134, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  2. Alesina, Alberto & Ichino, Andrea & Karabarbounis, Loukas, 2007. "Gender Based Taxation and the Division of Family Chores," IZA Discussion Papers 3233, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Michael J. Boskin & Eytan Sheshinski, 1979. "Optimal Tax Treatment of the Family: Married Couples," NBER Working Papers 0368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Del Boca, Daniela & Flinn, Christopher, 2009. "Endogeneous Household Interaction," IZA Discussion Papers 4377, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Zhiqi Chen & Frances Woolley, 1999. "A Cournot-Nash Model of Family Decision Making," Carleton Economic Papers 99-13, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised Oct 2001.
  6. 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.
  7. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Emmanuel Saez, 2009. "The Optimal Income Taxation of Couples," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(2), pages 537-560, 03.
  8. Elisabeth Gugl, 2009. "Income splitting, specialization, and intra-family distribution," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 42(3), pages 1050-1071, August.
  9. Weichselbaumer, Doris & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 2003. "A Meta-Analysis of the International Gender Wage Gap," IZA Discussion Papers 906, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Lundberg, S. & Pollak, R.A., 1991. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Working Papers 91-08, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  11. Meier, Volker & Rainer, Helmut, 2011. "On the Optimality of Joint Taxation for Non-Cooperative Couples," Munich Reprints in Economics 19179, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. Apps, P.F. & Rees, R., 1998. "On the Taxation of Trade Within and Between Households," Papers 337, Australian National University - Department of Economics.
  14. Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1989. "A Fresh Look at the Rotten Kid Theorem--and Other Household Mysteries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1138-59, October.
  15. Dan Anderberg, 2007. "Inefficient households and the mix of government spending," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(1), pages 127-140, April.
  16. Zhiyang Jia, 2005. "Labor Supply of Retiring Couples and Heterogeneity in Household Decision-Making Structure," Discussion Papers 404, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  17. Michiel Evers & Ruud Mooij & Daniel Vuuren, 2008. "The Wage Elasticity of Labour Supply: A Synthesis of Empirical Estimates," De Economist, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 25-43, March.
  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. Craig Brett, 2007. "Optimal nonlinear taxes for families," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 225-261, June.
  20. Meier, Volker & Wrede, Matthias, 2013. "Reducing the excess burden of subsidizing the stork: Joint taxation, individual taxation, and family tax splitting," Munich Reprints in Economics 19213, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  21. Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2004. "Fertility, Taxation and Family Policy," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(4), pages 745-763, December.
  22. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner, 2007. "Optimal Taxation of Married Couples with Household Production," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 63(4), pages 498-518, December.
  23. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. 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).

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