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Comparative Advantage, Observability, and the Optimal Tax Treatment of Families with Children

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  • Alessandro Cigno

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Abstract

Children are special, not only to their own parents, but also for society at large. Even if society is not directly interested in children, intervention may still be justified for re-distributive reasons. The fact that children are not transferable, while income is, does in fact bias the first best in favour of households with a comparative advantage in raising children. Furthermore, visibility makes children a natural target of second-best policies (but it does not necessarily follow that family size should be subsidized, at least directly). If society is directly interested in children, maybe only because of an externality, that is an additional reason for interfering with parental decisions. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandro Cigno, 2001. "Comparative Advantage, Observability, and the Optimal Tax Treatment of Families with Children," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 8(4), pages 455-470, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:8:y:2001:i:4:p:455-470
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1011275109138
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alessandro Balestrino & Alessandro Cigno & Anna Pettini, 2002. "Endogenous Fertility and the Design of Family Taxation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 9(2), pages 175-193, March.
    2. Cigno, Alessandro & Pettini, Anna, 2002. "Taxing family size and subsidizing child-specific commodities?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 75-90, April.
    3. Cigno, Alessandro & Luporini, Annalisa & Pettini, Anna, 2003. "Transfers to families with children as a principal-agent problem," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 1165-1177, May.
    4. Helmuth Cremer & Arnaud Dellis & Pierre Pestieau, 2003. "Family size and optimal income taxation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 16(1), pages 37-54, February.
    5. Apps, Patricia & Rees, Ray, 1999. "On the taxation of trade within and between households," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 241-263, August.
    6. Boadway, Robin & Keen, Michael, 2000. "Redistribution," Handbook of Income Distribution,in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 677-789 Elsevier.
    7. Nerlove, Marc & Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 1993. "Children: A Capital Good or a Base for Income Redistribution Policies," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 48(Supplemen), pages 78-84.
    8. Cigno, Alessandro, 1983. "On Optimal Family Allowances," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(1), pages 13-22, March.
    9. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1992. "Collective Labor Supply and Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 437-467, June.
    10. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
    11. Cigno, Alessandro, 1986. "Fertility and the Tax-Benefit System: A Reconsideration of the Theory of Family Taxation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(384), pages 1035-1051, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Cigno, Alessandro & Rosati, Furio C. & Guarcello, Lorenzo, 2002. "Does Globalization Increase Child Labor?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(9), pages 1579-1589, September.
    2. Kristin Dale, 2009. "Household skills and low wages," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(4), pages 1025-1038, October.
    3. Apps, Patricia & Rees, Ray, 2001. "Fertility, Female Labor Supply and Public Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 409, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. 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.
    5. Cigno, Alessandro & Luporini, Annalisa & Pettini, Anna, 2003. "Transfers to families with children as a principal-agent problem," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 1165-1177, May.
    6. Tomer Blumkin & Yoram Margalioth & Efraim Sadka, 2015. "The Re-distributive Role of Child Benefits Revisited," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(3), pages 476-501, June.
    7. Ross Guest & Nick Parr, 2013. "Family policy and couples’ labour supply: an empirical assessment," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(4), pages 1631-1660, October.

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