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Welfare Effects of a Shift of Joint to Individual Taxation in the German Personal Income Tax

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  • André Decoster
  • Peter Haan

Abstract

We empirically derive the welfare effects of a shift from joint to individual taxation of married households in Germany. For the welfare evaluation we estimate the preference heterogeneity and use normative welfare concepts proposed by Fleurbaey (2006) to address the difficulties of comparison between and aggregation of heterogeneous agents. Our results suggest that the normative choice of the welfare metric can be crucial, in particular for the simple question who are the gainers and who are the losers in a reform. Further, we find that it is possible to design a system of individual taxation that would be welfare-improving for different welfare metrics.

Suggested Citation

  • André Decoster & Peter Haan, 2014. "Welfare Effects of a Shift of Joint to Individual Taxation in the German Personal Income Tax," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 70(4), pages 599-624, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(201412)70:4_599:weoaso_2.0.tx_2-p
    DOI: 10.1628/001522108X685500
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. André Decoster & Peter Haan, 2010. "Empirical Welfare Analysis in Random Utility Models of Labour Supply," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 340, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    2. Boskin, Michael J. & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1983. "Optimal tax treatment of the family: Married couples," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 281-297, April.
    3. Alberto Alesina & Andrea Ichino & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2011. "Gender-Based Taxation and the Division of Family Chores," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 1-40, May.
    4. John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb, 2005. "Discrete Hours Labour Supply Modelling: Specification, Estimation and Simulation," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(5), pages 697-734, December.
    5. Auerbach, Alan J., 1985. "The theory of excess burden and optimal taxation," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 61-127 Elsevier.
    6. Aaberge, Rolf & Dagsvik, John K & Strom, Steinar, 1995. " Labor Supply Responses and Welfare Effects of Tax Reforms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 635-659, December.
    7. Stefan Bach & Johannes Geyer & Peter Haan & Katharina Wrohlich, 2011. "Reform des Ehegattensplittings: nur eine reine Individualbesteuerung erhöht die Erwerbsanreize deutlich," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 78(41), pages 13-19.
    8. Patricia F. Apps & Ray Rees, 1999. "Individual versus Joint Taxation in Models with Household Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 393-403, April.
    9. Laisney, François & Beninger, Denis & Beblo, Miriam, 2003. "Welfare Analysis of Fiscal Reforms: Does the Representation of the Family Decision Process Matter? Evidence for Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 03-31, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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    Cited by:

    1. Melanie Schröder & Norma Burow, 2016. "Couple's Labor Supply, Taxes, and the Division of Housework in a Gender-Neutral Lab," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1593, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    taxation of couples; welfare measures; labor supply; preference heterogeneity;

    JEL classification:

    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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