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Optimal Taxation: The Design of Child-Related Cash and In-Kind Benefits

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  • Peter Haan
  • Katharina Wrohlich

Abstract

In this paper, we empirically derive the welfare function that guarantees that the current German tax and transfer system for single women is optimal. In particular, we compare the welfare function conditional on the presence and age of children and assess how recent reforms of in-kind childcare transfers affect the welfare function. Our analysis is based on a discrete model of optimal taxation. We apply this framework using microsimulation and microeconometric techniques. In general, we find that marginal welfare weights are relatively high for non-working single women. Further, we show that the reform of in-kind childcare transfers is only optimal if society increases the marginal welfare weights for the working single women. Copyright 2009 The Authors. Journal Compilation Verein für Socialpolitik and Blackwell Publishing Ltd. 2009.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Haan & Katharina Wrohlich, 2010. "Optimal Taxation: The Design of Child-Related Cash and In-Kind Benefits," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11, pages 278-301, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:germec:v:11:y:2010:i::p:278-301
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Katharina Wrohlich, 2008. "The excess demand for subsidized child care in Germany," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(10), pages 1217-1228.
    2. Herwig Immervoll & David Barber, 2005. "Can Parents Afford to Work?: Childcare Costs, Tax-Benefit Policies and Work Incentives," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 31, OECD Publishing.
    3. Viktor Steiner & Katharina Wrohlich, 2008. "Introducing Family Tax Splitting in Germany: How Would It Affect the Income Distribution, Work Incentives, and Household Welfare?," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 64(1), pages 115-142, March.
    4. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Julian McCrae & Costas Meghir, 2000. "The labour market impact of the working families’ tax credit," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 75-103, March.
    5. François Bourguignon & Amedeo Spadaro, 2012. "Tax–benefit revealed social preferences," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 10(1), pages 75-108, March.
    6. Rolf Aaberge & Ugo Colombino, 2005. "Designing Optimal Taxes With a Microeconometric Model of Household Labour Supply," Public Economics 0510013, EconWPA.
    7. Herwig Immervoll & Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Emmanuel Saez, 2007. "Welfare reform in European countries: a microsimulation analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(516), pages 1-44, January.
    8. Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "Effect of Marginal Tax Rates on Taxable Income: A Panel Study of the 1986 Tax Reform Act," Scholarly Articles 2766676, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    9. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073.
    10. Arthur van Soest, 1995. "Structural Models of Family Labor Supply: A Discrete Choice Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 63-88.
    11. Richard Blundell & Mike Brewer & Peter Haan & Andrew Shephard, 2009. "Optimal Income Taxation of Lone Mothers: An Empirical Comparison of the UK and Germany," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(535), pages 101-121, February.
    12. Viktor Steiner & Katharina Wrohlich & Peter Haan & Johannes Geyer, 2008. "Documentation of the Tax-Benefit Microsimulation Model STSM: Version 2008," Data Documentation 31, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
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    Cited by:

    1. Colombino Ugo & Narazani Edlira, 2013. "Designing a Universal Income Support Mechanism for Italy: An Exploratory Tour," Basic Income Studies, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 1-17, July.
    2. M. Fort & N. Schneeweis & R. Winter-Ebmer, 2011. "More Schooling, More Children: Compulsory Schooling Reforms and Fertility in Europe," Working Papers wp787, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    3. Olivier Bargain & Mathias Dolls & Dirk Neumann & Andreas Peichl & Sebastian Siegloch, 2011. "Tax-Benefit Systems in Europe and the US: Between Equity and Efficiency," CESifo Working Paper Series 3534, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Ugo Colombino, 2011. "Five issues in the design of income support mechanisms. The case of Italy," CHILD Working Papers wp21_11, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
    5. Haan, Peter & Wrohlich, Katharina, 2011. "Can child care policy encourage employment and fertility?: Evidence from a structural model," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 498-512, August.
    6. Olivier Bargain & Claire Keane, 2010. "Tax–Benefit‐revealed Redistributive Preferences Over Time: Ireland 1987–2005," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 24(s1), pages 141-167, December.
    7. Daniele Pacifico, 2013. "On the role of unobserved preference heterogeneity in discrete choice models of labour supply," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 929-963, October.
    8. repec:zbw:rwirep:0117 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Ugo Colombino, 2015. "Five Crossroads on the Way to Basic Income. An Italian Tour," Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, Springer;Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association), vol. 1(3), pages 353-389, November.
    10. Guyonne Kalb & Thor Thoresen, 2010. "A comparison of family policy designs of Australia and Norway using microsimulation models," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 255-287, June.
    11. Haan, Peter & Navarro, Dolores, 2008. "Optimal Income Taxation of Married Couples: An Empirical Analysis of Joint and Individual Taxation," IZA Discussion Papers 3819, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Shun-ichiro Bessho & Masayoshi Hayashi, 2015. "Should the Japanese tax system be more progressive? An evaluation using the simulated SMCFs based on the discrete choice model of labor supply," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(1), pages 144-175, February.
    13. Colombino Ugo & Locatelli Marilena & Narazani Edlira & O'Donoghue Cathal, 2010. "Alternative Basic Income Mechanisms: An Evaluation Exercise With a Microeconometric Model," Basic Income Studies, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-31, September.
    14. Colombino Ugo, 2012. "A microeconometric-computational approach to empirical optimal taxation: outline of a project," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201218, University of Turin.
    15. C. Katharina Spieß, 2011. "Vereinbarkeit von Familie und Beruf – wie wirksam sind deutsche „Care Policies“?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(s1), pages 4-27, May.
    16. Kassenböhmer, Sonja C. & Haisken-DeNew, John P., 2009. "Social Jealousy and Stigma: Negative Externalities of Social Assistance Payments in Germany," Ruhr Economic Papers 117, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    17. Sonja C. Kassenboehmer & John P. Haisken-DeNew, 2009. "Social Jealousy and Stigma: Negative Externalities of Social Assistance Payments in Germany," Ruhr Economic Papers 0117, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    18. Daniele Pacifico, 2014. "On the role of unobserved preference Heterogeneity in discrete choice Models of labour supply," Working Papers 6, Department of the Treasury, Ministry of the Economy and of Finance.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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