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A Normative Approach to Measuring Classical Horizontal Inequity

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  • Jean-Yves Duclos
  • Peter Lambert

Abstract

This paper makes a new attack on the old problem of measuring horizontal inequity (HI). A local measure of HI is proposed, and aggregated into a global index. Whilst other approaches have captured the welfare gain which would come from eliminating HI revenue-neutrally, our global index provides a measure of the revenue gain per capita which would come from eliminating HI welfare-neutrally. When expressed as a fraction of mean post-tax income, the measure can be viewed as a negative component in the Blackorby and Donaldson (1984) index of tax progressivity, quantifying the loss of vertical performance arising from differences in the tax treatment of equals. Being money-metric, the measure can also be easily and intuitively interpreted. We propose non- parametric estimation procedures to obviate the important þidentification of equalsþ problem. To our knowledge, this provides the first consistent statistical solution to measuring classical horizontal inequity. The method is applied to the Canadian distributions of gross and net incomes in 1981 and 1990.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of York in its series Discussion Papers with number 97/3.

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Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:97/3

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  1. Aronson, J Richard & Johnson, Paul & Lambert, Peter J, 1994. "Redistributive Effects and Unequal Income Tax Treatment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(423), pages 262-70, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Sami Bibi & Jean-Yves Duclos, 2005. "Decomposing poverty changes into vertical and horizontal components," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 205-215, 04.
  2. Sami Bibi & Jean-Yves Duclos, 2004. "Equity and Policy Effectiveness with Imperfect Targeting," Working Papers 0423, Economic Research Forum, revised Oct 2004.
  3. Duclos, Jean-Yves, 1998. "Social evaluation functions, economic isolation and the Suits index of progressivity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 103-121, July.
  4. Michael Grimm, 2005. "Removing the anonymity axiom in assessing pro-poor growth," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 113, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Duclos, Jean-Yves, 2006. "Equity and Equality," IZA Discussion Papers 2284, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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