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Fair and Efficient Taxation under Partial Control: Theory and Evidence

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  • Ooghe, Erwin

    ()
    (K.U.Leuven)

  • Peichl, Andreas

    ()
    (ZEW Mannheim)

Abstract

There is clear evidence that fairness plays a role in redistribution. Individuals want to compensate others for their misfortune, while they allow them to enjoy the fruits of their effort. Such fairness considerations have been introduced in political economy and optimal income tax models with a focus on income acquisition. However, actual tax-benefit systems are based on much more information. We introduce fairness in a tax-benefit scheme that is based on several characteristics. The novelty is the introduction of partial control. Each characteristic differs in terms of the degree of control, i.e., the extent to which it can be changed by exerting effort. Two testable predictions result. First, the tax rate on partially controllable characteristics should be lower compared to the tax rate on non-controllable tags. Second, the total effect of non-controllable characteristics on the post-tax outcome should be equal to zero. We estimate implicit tax rates for different characteristics in 26 European countries (using tEU-SILC data) and the US (using CPS data). We find a robust tendency in all countries to compensate more for the uncontrollable composite characteristic (based on sex, age and disability in our study) compared to the partially controllable one (based on family composition, immigration status, unemployment and education level). We also estimate the degree of fairness of tax-benefit schemes in different countries. Only the Continental countries France and Luxembourg pass the fairness test, whereas the Baltic and Anglo-Saxon countries (including the US) perform worst.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5388.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5388

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Keywords: optimal taxation; tax-benefit schemes; redistribution; fairness; tagging;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Judith Niehues & Andreas Peichl, 2011. "Lower and Upper Bounds of Unfair Inequality: Theory and Evidence for Germany and the US," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 395, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  2. repec:ese:emodwp:em5-11 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Yochanan Shachmurove & Reuel Shinnar (Deceased), 2012. "Do Chemical Reactors Hold the Solution for Global Economic Crises?," PIER Working Paper Archive 12-010, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  4. Bargain, Olivier & Decoster, André & Dolls, Mathias & Neumann, Dirk & Peichl, Andreas & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2011. "Welfare, Labor Supply and Heterogeneous Preferences: Evidence for Europe and the US," IZA Discussion Papers 6102, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Niehues, J. (Judith) & Andreas Peichl, 2012. "GINI DP 34: Bounds of Unfair Inequality of Opportunity: Theory and Evidence for Germany and the US," GINI Discussion Papers 34, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  6. Bastani, Spencer, 2012. "Gender-Based and Couple-Based Taxation," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2012:6, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  7. Judith Niehues & Andreas Peichl, 2012. "Bounds of Unfair Inequality of Opportunity: Theory and Evidence for Germany and the US," CESifo Working Paper Series 3815, CESifo Group Munich.

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