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Equivalence scales in tax and transfer policies



Income distribution and poverty measurement require weighting the impact of both economies of scale and the different needs of each household member. Different models of equivalence scales have been defined. Equivalence scales are also present in many tax and benefit programs. This paper reviews the equivalence scales implicit in personal income tax in Spain. We identify the adjustments contained in the new income tax and highlight the differences with those used in other social programs and the scales normally used to study poverty. An empirical analysis of poverty rates for different kinds of households is carried out using both these implicit scales as well as conventional equivalence scales. The results illustrate that economies of scale are taken into account to a lesser extent in income tax legislation than in income distribution analysis. (Copyright: Fundación SEPI)

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  • Luis Ayala & Rosa Martínez & Jesús Ruiz Huerta, 2003. "Equivalence scales in tax and transfer policies," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 27(3), pages 593-614, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:iec:inveco:v:27:y:2003:i:3:p:593-614

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Banks, James & Johnson, Paul, 1994. "Equivalence Scale Relativities Revisited," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(425), pages 883-890, July.
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    3. Jenkins, Stephen P & Lambert, Peter J, 1993. "Ranking Income Distributions When Needs Differ," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(4), pages 337-356, December.
    4. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Mercader-Prats, Magda, 1999. "Household Needs and Poverty: With Application to Spain and the U.K," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 45(1), pages 77-98, March.
    5. A. B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon, 1982. "The Comparison of Multi-Dimensioned Distributions of Economic Status," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(2), pages 183-201.
    6. Udo Ebert & Peter J. Lambert, 2004. "Horizontal Equity and Progression When Equivalence Scales Are Not Constant," Public Finance Review, , vol. 32(4), pages 426-440, July.
    7. van der Gaag, Jacques & Smolensky, Eugene, 1982. "True Household Equivalence Scales and Characteristics of the Poor in the United States," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 28(1), pages 17-28, March.
    8. van Praag, Bernard M. S., 1991. "Ordinal and cardinal utility : An integration of the two dimensions of the welfare concept," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 69-89, October.
    9. Deaton, Angus S & Ruiz-Castillo, Javier & Thomas, Duncan, 1989. "The Influence of Household Composition on Household Expenditure Patterns: Theory and Spanish Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 179-200, February.
    10. Bruce Bradbury, 1988. "Family Size Equivalence Scales and Survey Evaluation of Income and Well-Being," Discussion Papers 005, University of New South Wales, Social Policy Research Centre.
    11. Jenkins, Stephen P & Cowell, Frank A, 1994. "Parametric Equivalence Scales and Scale Relativities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(425), pages 891-900, July.
    12. Lewbel, Arthur, 1989. "Household equivalence scales and welfare comparisons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 377-391, August.
    13. Buhmann, Brigitte, et al, 1988. "Equivalence Scales, Well-Being, Inequality, and Poverty: Sensitivity Estimates across Ten Countries Using the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(2), pages 115-142, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Juan Prieto-Rodríguez & Víctor Fernández-Blanco, 2006. "Optimal pricing and grant policies for museums," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 30(3), pages 169-181, December.
    2. Juan Prieto-Rodríguez & Rafael Salas & Santiago Álvarez-García, "undated". "The Evolution Of Income Inequality In The European Union," Working Papers 10-02 Classification-JEL , Instituto de Estudios Fiscales.
    3. Xisco Oliver Rullán & Amedeo Spadaro, 2004. "Are Spanish governments really averse to inequality? a normative analysis using the 1999 Spanish tax reform," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 28(3), pages 551-566, September.

    More about this item


    Equivalence scales; personal income tax; poverty.;

    JEL classification:

    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior


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