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Optimal tax and transfer programs for couples with extensive labor supply responses

Author

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  • Immervoll, Herwig
  • Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen
  • Kreiner, Claus Thustrup
  • Verdelin, Nicolaj

Abstract

This paper analyzes the optimal design of general nonlinear tax-transfer schedules for couples under unitary and collective approaches to family decision making. We consider a double-extensive model of labor supply where each spouse makes a labor force participation choice for given hours of work. We present simple and intuitive optimal tax rules that generalize existing findings on the optimal taxation of single-person households with extensive responses (Saez, 2002) to the case of two-person households with double-extensive responses. Without income effects on labor supply, optimal tax rules as a function of sufficient statistics are the same under the unitary and collective approaches. With income effects on labor supply, optimal tax rules under the two approaches continue to depend on the same sufficient statistics, but the collective model features an additional Pigouvian term arising from a within-family participation externality. Finally, we present microsimulations of tax reform for 15 European countries suggesting that a reduction of tax rates on secondary earners relative to primary earners is associated with strong welfare gains in all countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Immervoll, Herwig & Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup & Verdelin, Nicolaj, 2011. "Optimal tax and transfer programs for couples with extensive labor supply responses," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1485-1500.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:11:p:1485-1500
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2011.06.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Søren Leth-Petersen & Peer Ebbesen Skov, 2016. "Tax Reforms and Intertemporal Shifting of Wage Income: Evidence from Danish Monthly Payroll Records," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 233-257, August.
    2. Erwin Ooghe & Andreas Peichl, 2015. "Fair and Efficient Taxation under Partial Control," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 125(589), pages 2024-2051, December.
    3. Löffler, Max & Peichl, Andreas & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2013. "Validating Structural Labor Supply Models," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79819, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    4. Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2012. "Optimal Taxation, Child Care and Models of the Household," CEPR Discussion Papers 673, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    5. Cremer, Helmuth & Lozachmeur, Jean-Marie & Roeder, Kerstin, 2017. "Household bargaining, spouses' consumption patterns and the design of commodity taxes," TSE Working Papers 17-767, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    6. Cremer, Helmuth & Lozachmeur, Jean-Marie & Maldonado, Dario & Roeder, Kerstin, 2016. "Household bargaining and the design of couples’ income taxation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 454-470.
    7. Bastani, Spencer & Moberg, Ylva & Selin, Håkan, 2016. "Estimating participation responses using transfer program reform," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2016:4, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    8. Nathaniel Hendren, 2016. "The Policy Elasticity," Tax Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 51-89.
    9. Volker Meier & Matthias Wrede, 2013. "Reducing the excess burden of subsidizing the stork: joint taxation, individual taxation, and family tax splitting," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(3), pages 1195-1207, July.
    10. Bach, Stefan & Corneo, Giacomo & Steiner, Viktor, 2012. "Optimal top marginal tax rates under income splitting for couples," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1055-1069.
    11. repec:eee:jeborg:v:148:y:2018:i:c:p:199-225 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Normann Lorenz & Dominik Sachs, 2012. "Optimal Participation Taxes and Efficient Transfer Phase-Out," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2012-37, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
    13. Tomoyuki Nakajima & Shuhei Takahashi, 2016. "The Effectiveness of Consumption Taxes and Transfers as Insurance against Idiosyncratic Risk," KIER Working Papers 933, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
    14. Stefan Bach & Peter Haan & Richard Ochmann, 2013. "Taxation of Married Couples in Germany and the UK: One-Earner Couples Make the Difference," International Journal of Microsimulation, International Microsimulation Association, vol. 6(3), pages 3-24.
    15. Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Søren Leth-Petersen & Peer Ebbesen Skov, 2016. "Tax Reforms and Intertemporal Shifting of Wage Income: Evidence from Danish Monthly Payroll Records," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(3), pages 233-257, August.
    16. Bastani, Spencer & Moberg, Ylva & Selin, Håkan, 2016. "The Anatomy of the Extensive Margin Labor Supply Response," Working Paper Series 2016:11, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    17. Håkan Selin, 2014. "The rise in female employment and the role of tax incentives. An empirical analysis of the Swedish individual tax reform of 1971," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 21(5), pages 894-922, October.
    18. Vidar Christiansen, 2012. "Optimal Participation Taxes," CESifo Working Paper Series 3941, CESifo Group Munich.
    19. Guy Laroque & Nicola Pavoni, 2017. "Optimal taxation in occupational choice models: an application to the work decisions of couples," IFS Working Papers W17/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    20. repec:kap:jecinq:v:15:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10888-017-9369-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Bartels, Charlotte & Shupe, Cortnie, 2018. "Drivers of participation elasticities across Europe: gender or earner role within the household?," EUROMOD Working Papers EM7/18, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.

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