Taxation and the Earnings of Husbands and Wives: Evidence from Sweden
AbstractThis paper examines the response of husbands' and wives' earnings to a tax reform in which husbands' and wives' tax rates changed independently, allowing me to examine the effect of both spouses' incentives on each spouse's behavior. I compare the results to those of more simplified econometric models that are used in the typical setting in which such independent variation is not available. Using administrative panel data on approximately 11% of the married Swedish population, I analyze the impact of the large Swedish tax reform of 1990-1. I find that in response to a compensated fall in one spouse's tax rate, that spouse's earned income rises, and the other spouse's earned income also rises. I test and reject a set of models in which the family maximizes a single utility function. A standard econometric specification, in which one spouse reacts to the other spouse's income as if it were unearned income, yields biased coefficient estimates. Uncompensated elasticities of earned income with respect to the fraction of income kept after taxes are over-estimated by a factor of more than three, and income effects are of the wrong sign. A second common specification, in which overall family income is related to the family's tax rate and income, also yields substantially over-estimated own compensated and uncompensated elasticities. Standard econometric approaches may substantially mis-estimate earnings responses to taxation.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies with number 2012:4.
Length: 56 pages
Date of creation: 09 Sep 2011
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
Web page: http://www.nek.uu.se/
More information through EDIRC
taxation; earnings; labor supply; families; spouses; unitary model;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
- H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
- H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
- J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
- J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
- J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
- J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ACC-2012-03-08 (Accounting & Auditing)
- NEP-ALL-2012-03-08 (All new papers)
- NEP-PBE-2012-03-08 (Public Economics)
- NEP-PUB-2012-03-08 (Public Finance)
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- Goux, Dominique & Maurin, Eric & Petrongolo, Barbara, 2011.
"Worktime Regulations and Spousal Labour Supply,"
IZA Discussion Papers
5639, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Dominique Goux & Eric Maurin & Barbara Petrongolo, 2013. "Worktime Regulations and Spousal Labor Supply," Working Papers 709, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
- Goux, Dominique & Maurin, Eric & Petrongolo, Barbara, 2011. "Worktime regulations and spousal labor supply," CEPR Discussion Papers 8666, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Dominique Goux & Eric Maurin & Barbara Petrongolo, 2011. "Worktime Regulations and Spousal Labor Supply," CEP Discussion Papers dp1096, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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