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Social welfare effects of tax-benefit reform under endogenous participation and unemployment: an ordinal approach

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  • Brigitte Baalen

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  • Tobias Müller

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Abstract

This paper analyzes the social welfare effects of tax-benefit reforms in a framework integrating endogenous labor supply and unemployment. We adopt an ordinal approach to social welfare comparisons by searching for “socially desirable” reforms that would improve social welfare for an entire class of social welfare functions. In the model, there is a discrete distribution of individuals’ productivities and individuals are heterogeneous with respect to leisure preferences (or disability of work). Labor supply decisions are limited to the participation decision. Unemployment is modeled in a search and matching framework with individual wage bargaining. For the social welfare analysis, the model is calibrated for Switzerland. Starting from a situation with an unemployment benefit scheme, the introduction of in-work benefits is shown to be a “socially desirable” reform: it would be unanimously preferred to the current situation according to all social welfare functions based on the criteria of Pareto, anonymity, and the principle of transfers. This result holds for two different types of preference heterogeneity (leisure preferences or disability of work) and also for the case where job search effort cannot be monitored. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Brigitte Baalen & Tobias Müller, 2014. "Social welfare effects of tax-benefit reform under endogenous participation and unemployment: an ordinal approach," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 21(2), pages 198-227, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:21:y:2014:i:2:p:198-227
    DOI: 10.1007/s10797-012-9263-7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tax-benefit reform; Unemployment; Search-matching models; Social welfare; Preference heterogeneity; D63; H21; J64;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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