The effects of joint taxation of married couples on labor supply and non-wage income
The United States changed its tax treatment of married couples in 1948, from a system in which each spouse paid taxes on his or her own income to a system in which a married couple is taxed as a unit. The switch from separate to joint taxation changed incentives for labor supply and asset ownership. This paper investigates the effects of the conversion to joint taxation, taking advantage of a natural experiment created by cross-state variation in property laws. Married individuals in states with community property laws had always been taxed as if each spouse had earned half of the couple's income, and thus were unaffected by the 1948 legal change. Comparing the behavior of highly-educated taxpayers in affected and unaffected states indicates that the tax change is associated with a decline of approximately 2 percentage points in the employment rate of married women, consistent with the higher first-dollar tax rates they faced after 1948. Women married to self-employed men were also less likely to have non-wage income after 1948, reflecting pre-1948 allocation of family assets to wives for tax purposes. The effects of joint taxation on married men's labor force participation and non-wage income holding are generally not statistically significant.
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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
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.:
- Stephens, Melvin Jr & Ward-Batts, Jennifer, 2004.
"The impact of separate taxation on the intra-household allocation of assets: evidence from the UK,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1989-2007, August.
- Melvin Stephens Jr. & Jennifer Ward-Batts, 2001. "The Impact of Separate Taxation on the Intra-Household Allocation of Assets: Evidence from the UK," NBER Working Papers 8380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Michael J. Boskin & Eytan Sheshinski, 1979.
"Optimal Tax Treatment of the Family: Married Couples,"
NBER Working Papers
0368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Robert A. Moffitt & Mark Wilhelm, 1998.
"Taxation and the Labor Supply: Decisions of the Affluent,"
NBER Working Papers
6621, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robert A Moffitt & Mark Wilhelm, 2000. "Taxation and the Labor Supply - Decisions of the Affluent," Economics Working Paper Archive 414, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
- Gustafsson, Siv, 1992. "Separate Taxation and Married Women's Labor Supply: A Comparison of West Germany and Sweden," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 61-85, February.
- 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.
- Jane H. Leuthold, 1984. "Income splitting and women's labor-force participation," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 38(1), pages 98-105, October.
- John Piggott & John Whalley, 1999. "Reply to Apps/Rees and Gottfried/Richter," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 410-418, April.
- Rosen, Harvey S., 1976. "A methodology for evaluating tax reform proposals," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 105-121.
- Eissa, Nada & Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 2004. "Taxes and the labor market participation of married couples: the earned income tax credit," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1931-1958, August.
- Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-38, May.
- Goldin, Claudia D, 1991. "The Role of World War II in the Rise of Women's Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 741-56, September.
- Casey B. Mulligan, 1998. "Pecuniary Incentives to Work in the United States during World War II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 1033-1077, October.
- John Piggott & John Whalley, 1994.
"The Tax Unit and Household Production,"
NBER Working Papers
4820, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Daron Acemoglu & David H. Autor & David Lyle, 2004.
"Women, War, and Wages: The Effect of Female Labor Supply on the Wage Structure at Midcentury,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 497-551, June.
- Daron Acemoglu & David H. Autor & David Lyle, 2002. "Women, War and Wages: The Effect of Female Labor Supply on the Wage Structure at Mid-Century," NBER Working Papers 9013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Nada Eissa, 1995. "Taxation and Labor Supply of Married Women: The Tax Reform Act of 1986 as a Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 5023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2007. "Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980â€“2000," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 393-438.
- Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999.
"Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches,"
Handbook of Labor Economics,
in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695
- Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1994.
"Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies,"
NBER Working Papers
4956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 2000. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages F672-94, November.
- Herbert J. Schuetze, 2006. "Income splitting among the self-employed," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1195-1220, November.
- 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.
- Slemrod, Joel, 2006. "The Role of Misconceptions in Support for Regressive Tax Reform," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 59(1), pages 57-75, March.
- Paul A. Samuelson, 1956. "Social Indifference Curves," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 1-22.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:92:y:2008:i:7:p:1698-1719. 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: (Zhang, Lei)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.