Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Disentangling income inequality and the redistributive effect of social transfers and taxes in 36 LIS countries

Contents:

Author Info

  • Wang, Chen
  • Caminada, Koen

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to offer detailed information of fiscal redistribution in 36 countries, employing data that have been computed from the Luxembourg Income Study’s micro-level database. LIS data are detailed enough to allow us to measure both overall redistribution, and the partial effects of redistribution by several taxes or transfers. We elaborate on the work of Jesuit and Mahler (2004) and Mahler and Jesuit (2006), and we refine, update and extent their Fiscal Redistribution approach. LIS data allow us to decompose the trajectory of the Gini coefficient from primary to disposable income inequality in several parts: we will distinguish 11 different benefits and several income taxes and social contributions in our empirical investigation across countries. First, we use LIS data to analyze income inequality and the redistributive effect of social transfers across countries in a descriptive way. Then we proceed with a simulation approach for 36 countries for which we decompose income inequality through several taxes and transfers. We analyze the redistributive effect of several social programs, like unemployment benefits or pensions and income taxes. We develop a budget incidence simulation model to investigate to what extent several social transfers contribute to the overall redistribution in modern welfare states under a strong assumption that the absence of social transfers and taxes would not change individual behavior and labor supply. Among all countries listed in this paper, Denmark and Sweden have the smallest income disparity, while Peru and Colombia have the largest. Nordic countries show the most equally distributed disposable incomes and primary incomes, comparing to the countries in other types of welfare states. On average, large primary income disparity exists in Anglo-Saxon countries. Generally speaking, European countries achieve lower levels of income inequality than other countries. With respect to the redistributive effect, our budget incidence analysis indicates that the pattern is diverse across countries. The largest redistribution is found for Belgium, while Colombia and Peru show rather limited overall redistributive effects. On average, transfers reduce income inequality by over 85 percent, while taxes account for only 15 percent of total redistribution. Among all welfare states, Continental European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, and Luxembourg) achieve the highest level of the reduction of initial income inequality. As far as social programs is concerned, in most countries two dominant income components account for above 50 percent of total reduction in income inequality: the public old age pensions and the survivors scheme, and the income taxes. For example, in Southern European Countries the public old age benefits account for over 80 percent of total redistribution, while these figures are much lower for Anglo-Saxon Countries (20-34%), for Nordic Countries (31-48%), for Continental European Countries (47-57%), and for Central Eastern European Countries (54-70%). In Anglo-Saxon Countries income taxes play a major role (above 30%) compare to other countries (with the exception the United kingdom). Also the redistributive effect of social assistance and child and family benefits in the Anglo-Saxon Countries are relatively high in a comparative setting (9-28%). In Nordic Countries also a variety of other social programs contribute to the reduction of inequality, especially the disability scheme (9-15%). Remarkably, across countries all other social benefit programs seem to have rather limited redistributive effects, although the unemployment compensation benefits do have some effect too.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/32821/
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/32861/
File Function: revised version
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 32821.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 04 Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:32821

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Schackstr. 4, D-80539 Munich, Germany
Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2219
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-3900
Web page: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: welfare states; social income transfers; inequality; Gini coefficient; LIS;

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Gottschalk,Peter & Gustafsson,Bjorn A. & Palmer,Edward E. (ed.), 1997. "Changing Patterns in the Distribution of Economic Welfare," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521562621, October.
  2. Caminada, Koen & Goudswaard, Kees, 2001. "International trends in income inequality and social policy," MPRA Paper 20181, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Anthony C. Atkinson, 2003. "Income Inequality in OECD Countries: Data and Explanations," CESifo Working Paper Series 881, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Alejandro Lopez-Feldman, 2006. "Decomposing inequality and obtaining marginal effects," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 6(1), pages 106-111, March.
  5. Jean-Marc Burniaux & Thai-Thanh Dang & Douglas Fore & Michael F. Förster & Marco Mira d'Ercole & Howard Oxley, 1998. "Income Distribution and Poverty in Selected OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 189, OECD Publishing.
  6. Caminada, Koen & Goudswaard, Kees, 2004. "Are public and private social expenditures complementary?," MPRA Paper 20179, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Jenkins, Stephen P, 1995. "Accounting for Inequality Trends: Decomposition Analyses for the UK, 1971-86," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 62(245), pages 29-63, February.
  8. Kenworthy, Lane, 2011. "Progress for the Poor," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199591527, Octomber.
  9. R. A. Musgrave & Tun Thin, 1948. "Income Tax Progression, 1929-48," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 498.
  10. Clemens Fuest & Judith Niehues & Andreas Peichl, 2010. "The Redistributive Effects of Tax Benefit Systems in the Enlarged EU," Public Finance Review, , vol. 38(4), pages 473-500, July.
  11. Cecilia García-Peñalosa & Elsa Orgiazzi, 2013. "Factor Components of Inequality: A Cross-Country Study," AMSE Working Papers 1318, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France.
  12. 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.
  13. Caminada, Koen & Goudswaard, Kees, 2008. "Effectiveness of poverty reduction in the EU: A descriptive analysis," MPRA Paper 20167, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Timothy M. Smeeding, 2005. "Public Policy, Economic Inequality, and Poverty: The United States in Comparative Perspective," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 86(s1), pages 955-983.
  15. Immervoll, Herwig & Levy, Horacio & Lietz, Christine & Mantovani, Daniela & O'Donoghue, Cathal & Sutherland, Holly & Verbist, Gerlinde, 2006. "Household Incomes and Redistribution in the European Union: Quantifying the Equalising Properties of Taxes and Benefits," Economics Series 184, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  16. Paul, Satya, 2004. "Income sources effects on inequality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 435-451, February.
  17. Michael Förster & Peter Whiteford, 2009. "How much Redistribution do Welfare States Achieve? The Role of Cash Transfers and Household Taxes," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 7(3), pages 34-41, October.
  18. Stark, Oded & Taylor, J Edward & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1986. "Remittances and Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(383), pages 722-40, September.
  19. Palme, Mårten, 1994. "Income Distribution Effects of the Swedish 1991 Tax Reform: An Analysis of a Microsimulation Using Generalized Kakwani Decomposition," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 5, Stockholm School of Economics.
  20. Andrea Brandolini & Timothy M. Smeeding, 2007. "Inequality Patterns in Western-Type Democracies: Cross-Country Differences and Time Changes," CHILD Working Papers wp08_07, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  21. Goudswaard, Kees & Caminada, Koen, 2008. "The redistributive impact of public and private social expenditure," MPRA Paper 20178, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  22. Paolo Figini, 1998. "Inequality Measures, Equivalence Scales and Adjustment for Household Size and Composition," Economics Technical Papers 988, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
  23. Andrea Brandolini & Anthony B. Atkinson, 2001. "Promise and Pitfalls in the Use of "Secondary" Data-Sets: Income Inequality in OECD Countries As a Case Study," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 771-799, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Mitja ÄŒok & Ivica Urban & Miroslav VerbiÄ, 2013. "Income Redistribution through Taxes and Social Benefits: The Case of Slovenia and Croatia," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 60(5), pages 667-686, September.
  2. Giovanni Andrea Cornia & Juan Carlos Gómez-Sabaini & Bruno Martorano, 2012. "A New Fiscal Pact, Tax Policy Changes and Income Inequality," Working Papers - Economics wp2012_03.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
  3. Salvatore Morelli & Timothy Smeeding & Jeffrey Thompson, 2014. "Post-1970 Trends in Within-Country Inequality and Poverty: Rich and Middle Income Countries," CSEF Working Papers 356, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  4. Richard M. Bird & Eric M. Zolt, 2013. "Taxation and Inequality in the Americas: Changing the Fiscal Contract?," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1322, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  5. Arjan de Haan, 2013. "The Social Policies of Emerging Economies: Growth and Welfare in China and India," Working Papers 110, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
  6. Ivica Urban, 2014. "Contributions of taxes and benefits to vertical and horizontal effects," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 619-645, March.
  7. Van Vliet, Olaf & Been, Jim & Caminada, Koen & Goudswaard, Kees, 2011. "Pension reform and income inequality among the elderly in 15 European countries," MPRA Paper 32940, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. European Commission, 2013. "Tax reforms in EU Member States - Tax policy challenges for economic growth and fiscal sustainability – 2013 Report," Taxation Papers 38, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
  9. Caminada, Koen & Goudswaard, Kees & Wang, Chen, 2012. "Disentangling income inequality and the redistributive effect of taxes and transfers in 20 LIS countries over time," MPRA Paper 42350, University Library of Munich, Germany.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:32821. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.