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Will you civil union me? Taxation and civil unions in France

  • Leturcq, Marion

Although the tax system is not marriage neutral in many countries, it has been found to be only slightly significant in determining marriage decisions (Buffeteau and Echevin, 2003; Alm and Whittington, 1995). This paper tests whether the tax system can alter the decision to contract a civil union, which is less binding than a marital contract. In 1999, France introduced civil union (pacs) as an alternative legal union to marriage. I assess the impact of taxation on the decision to contract a pacs using a difference-in-differences evaluation of the 2005 income tax reform for newly pacsed couples. As the control group is contaminated by the reform, I propose an original estimation method based on a difference-in-differences-in-differences setting to estimate bounds to the impact of the reform. My results find a positive and increasing impact of taxation on pacs rates, but also a change in the timing of pacs unions suggesting that taxation alters the decision to contract a pacs. In addition, I find a slightly significant impact of taxation on the decision to terminate a pacs.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 96 (2012)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 541-552

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:96:y:2012:i:5:p:541-552
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, October.
  2. Alm, James & Whittington, Leslie A., 1997. "Income taxes and the timing of marital decisions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 219-240, May.
  3. Alm, James & Whittington, Leslie A., 1996. "The Rise and Fall and Rise ... of the Marriage Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(4), pages 571-89, December.
  4. Sophie Guérin & Élise Amar, 2007. "Se marier ou non : le droit fiscal peut-il aider à choisir ?," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 401(1), pages 23-37.
  5. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  6. Alm, James & Whittington, Leslie A, 1999. "For Love or Money? The Impact of Income Taxes on Marriage," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(263), pages 297-316, August.
  7. François Legendre & Florence Thibault, 2007. "Les concubins et l’impôt sur le revenu en France," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 401(1), pages 3-21.
  8. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 11-26 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Stevenson, Betsey & Wolfers, Justin, 2007. "Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces," CEPR Discussion Papers 6144, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Marion Leturcq, 2011. "Would you civil union me?," PSE Working Papers halshs-00628642, HAL.
  11. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
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