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Transport consumption inequalities and redistributive effects of taxes: A repeated cross-sectional evaluation on French household data

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  • Akli Berri

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    (INRETS, Department of Transport Economics and Sociology (DEST))

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    Abstract

    This paper evaluates transport consumption inequalities among French households, investigates their temporal dynamics, and estimates the redistributive effects of taxes on different commodity categories. A decomposition by expenditure component of the Gini coefficient is applied, using household-level data from five expenditure surveys conducted between the end of the 1970’s and the early 2000’s. The results highlight the effect of car social diffusion. Indeed, the relative contribution to global inequality of car use items, especially fuels, decreased regularly over time, reflecting the more and more widespread use of the car. Moreover, fuel taxes become regressive (i.e. they affect the poor more than the rich), while the progressive character of taxes on the remaining car use commodities weakens over time. Therefore, the design of policy measures to reduce car use and thus attenuate its nuisances for the environment should also account for the imperative of equity. The case of local public transport underlines the necessity of accounting for disparities in terms of availability of alternatives to the car. Taxes on these services appear to be neutral (i.e. neither progressive nor regressive) at national level, but this result conceals a diversity of local conditions in terms of supply of these transport means according to the degree of urbanization and population density. Effectively, these taxes prove to be regressive when focusing on the Greater Paris region, a large urban area very well endowed with public transport infrastructure. Hence, a distinction by degree of urbanization is to be considered.

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    File URL: http://www.ecineq.org/milano/WP/ECINEQ2009-145.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality in its series Working Papers with number 145.

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    Length: 26 pages
    Date of creation: 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2009-145

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    Keywords: Inequality; transport consumption; household expenditure surveys; Gini index; decomposition by component; redistributive effects of taxes;

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    1. Lerman, Robert I. & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1984. "A note on the calculation and interpretation of the Gini index," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 15(3-4), pages 363-368.
    2. Robert I. Lerman & Shlomo Yitzhaki, 1994. "Effect of Marginal Changes in Income Sources On U.S. Income Inequality," Public Finance Review, , vol. 22(4), pages 403-417, October.
    3. Lerman, Robert I. & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1989. "Improving the accuracy of estimates of Gini coefficients," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 43-47, September.
    4. Stark, Oded & Taylor, J Edward & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1986. "Remittances and Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(383), pages 722-40, September.
    5. Shalit, Haim, 1985. "Calculating the Gini Index of Inequality for Individual Data," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 47(2), pages 185-89, May.
    6. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1991. "Calculating Jackknife Variance Estimators for Parameters of the Gini Method," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 9(2), pages 235-39, April.
    7. Lerman, Robert I & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1985. "Income Inequality Effects by Income," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 151-56, February.
    8. Garner, Thesia I, 1993. "Consumer Expenditures and Inequality: An Analysis Based on Decomposition of the Gini Coefficient," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(1), pages 134-38, February.
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