The Taxation of Couples
AbstractThis paper is concerned with the question of how couples should be taxed. One reason for the importance of this issue is simply that the overwhelming majority of individuals live in households formed around couples, and so it could be argued that empirically, this is the single most important problem in personal income taxation. A second reason is that the economic theory of optimal taxation and tax reform, at least as it is presented in the mainstream literature, provides little guidance on this issue, resting as it does on models of the single person household. An old insight in the earlier public .nance literature is that any discussion of the taxation of two-person households necessarily involves the recognition of the importance of household production. In this paper we try to show how a simple model of household production can be used to help the analysis of optimal taxation and tax reform, and to put the "conventional wisdom", which says that it is optimal to tax women on a separate, lower tax schedule than men, on a .rmer basis. What emerges clearly from the analysis is how centrally important the relationship between productivity in household production and female labour supply really is, and how little we know about it empirically.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics, University of York in its series Discussion Papers with number 07/21.
Date of creation: Jul 2007
Date of revision:
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Postal: Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, United Kingdom
Phone: (0)1904 323776
Fax: (0)1904 323759
Web page: http://www.york.ac.uk/economics/
More information through EDIRC
Optimal taxation; household production; labour supply;
Other versions of this item:
- Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2007. "The Taxation of Couples," CEPR Discussion Papers 559, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
- Apps, Patricia & Rees, Ray, 2007. "The Taxation of Couples," IZA Discussion Papers 2910, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
- D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
- 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-ALL-2007-07-13 (All new papers)
- NEP-PBE-2007-07-13 (Public Economics)
- NEP-PUB-2007-07-13 (Public Finance)
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.:
- Myles,Gareth D., 1995. "Public Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521497695, November.
- Apps,Patricia & Rees,Ray, 2009.
"Public Economics and the Household,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521716284, November.
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"The Tax Unit and Household Production,"
NBER Working Papers
4820, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Auerbach, Alan J. & Hines, James Jr., 2002.
"Taxation and economic efficiency,"
Handbook of Public Economics,
in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 21, pages 1347-1421
- Boskin, Michael J. & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1983.
"Optimal tax treatment of the family: Married couples,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 281-297, April.
- Michael J. Boskin & Eytan Sheshinski, 1984. "Optimal Tax Treatment of the Family: Married Couples," NBER Working Papers 0368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Sheshinski, Eytan, 1972. "The Optimal Linear Income-Tax," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(3), pages 297-302, July.
- Martin Feldstein & Daniel R. Feenberg, 1996.
"The Taxation of Two-Earner Families,"
in: Empirical Foundations of Household Taxation, pages 39-75
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Rees, Ray, 1988. "Taxation and the Household," Munich Reprints in Economics 3411, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- Apps, Patricia, 1982. "Institutional inequality and tax incidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 217-242, July.
- Apps, Patricia & Rees, Ray, 1999.
"On the taxation of trade within and between households,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 241-263, August.
- Apps, P.F. & Rees, R., 1998. "On the Taxation of Trade Within and Between Households," Papers 337, Australian National University - Department of Economics.
- Apps, Patricia F. & Rees, Ray, 1988. "Taxation and the household," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 355-369, April.
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