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On the Optimality of Joint Taxation for Non-Cooperative Couples

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  • Meier, Volker
  • Rainer, Helmut

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 University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 19179.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Publication status: Published in Beiträge zur Jahrestagung des Vereins für Socialpolitik 2011: Die Ordnung der Weltwirtschaft: Lektionen aus der Krise - Session: Tax Policy D16-V2 (2011)
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:19179

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Vicky Barham & Rose Anne Devlin, 2004. "A Theory of Rational Marriage and Divorce," Working Papers 0405E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
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  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. Lundberg, S. & Pollak, R.A., 1991. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Working Papers 91-08, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
  8. Imran Rasul, 2006. "The Economics of Child Custody," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(289), pages 1-25, 02.
  9. Apps,Patricia & Rees,Ray, 2009. "Public Economics and the Household," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521716284.
  10. Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2011. "Relational Contracts, Taxation and the Household," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 57(2), pages 245-258, June.
  11. 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.
  12. Apps, P.F. & Rees, R., 1998. "On the Taxation of Trade Within and Between Households," Papers 337, Australian National University - Department of Economics.
  13. 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.
  14. Helmut Rainer, 2003. "Should We Write Prenuptial Contracts?," Economics Discussion Papers 572, University of Essex, 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. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  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. 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.
  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. 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.
  7. 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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