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Bracket Creep Revisited - with and without r > g: Evidence from Germany

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  • Junyi Zhu

    (Deutsche Bundesbank)

Abstract

Using German income distribution in 2009, this article studies the redistributive and revenue effects of bracket creep under various inflation scenarios. We develop a tax micro-simulation model for the newly available Panel on Household Finance (PHF) data. The simulation yields an inverted U-shaped overall redistributive effect of the income tax and social insurance contribution system with respect to the inflation rate, which contrasts with Immervoll (2005), who finds that fiscal drag always enhances the equalising effect. The nominal income growth as well as the deterioration of tax progression at the middle and top of the income distribution between 1998 and 2009 can be the impetus for this change. This result implies that delaying adjustment might reduce redistribution. We also suggest that these results might not be restricted solely to Germany. Additionally, when we introduce the empirical evidence that capital income grows faster than non-capital income r > g, the dual tax system with a flat capital income tax implemented in 2009 further disequalises the after-tax income substantially. Allowing inflation compensation to lean towards the poor by boosting their share of capital income may not be favourable to redistribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Junyi Zhu, 2014. "Bracket Creep Revisited - with and without r > g: Evidence from Germany," Journal of Income Distribution, Ad libros publications inc., vol. 23(3), pages 106-158, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:jid:journl:y:2014:v:23:i:3-4:p:106-158
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    1. Zhu, Junyi & Steiner, Viktor, 2020. "A Joint Top Income and Wealth Distribution," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224651, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Steiner, Viktor & Zhu, Junyi, 2021. "A joint top income and wealth distribution," Discussion Papers 2021/3, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    inflation; fiscal drag; progressivity of income tax; income distribution; micro-simulation; capital income taxation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

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