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Inequalities within Couples in Europe: Market Incomes and the Role of Taxes and Benefits

Author

Listed:
  • Francesco Figari

    (Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ, UK. E-mails: ffigar@essex.ac.uk; hlevy@essex.ac.uk;hollys@essex.ac.uk)

  • Herwig Immervoll

    () (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OCED) 2, rue André-Pascal, 75775 Paris Cedex 16, France.)

  • Horacio Levy

    (Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ, UK. E-mails: ffigar@essex.ac.uk; hlevy@essex.ac.uk;hollys@essex.ac.uk)

  • Holly Sutherland

    (Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ, UK. E-mails: ffigar@essex.ac.uk; hlevy@essex.ac.uk;hollys@essex.ac.uk)

Abstract

This paper explores the effects of tax and benefit systems on differences in income and incentives to earn income within couples in nine member countries of the European Union. The comparative perspective allows us to establish the relative effects of different policy regimes, given the characteristics of each national population, using a consistent approach and set of incidence assumptions across countries. We find variation in the extent of within-couple equalizing across countries and depending on whether the man or the woman has the larger market income. We find no evidence of tax-benefit systems reducing income differences at the expense of increasing disparities in work incentives within couples.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Figari & Herwig Immervoll & Horacio Levy & Holly Sutherland, 2011. "Inequalities within Couples in Europe: Market Incomes and the Role of Taxes and Benefits," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 344-366.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:easeco:v:37:y:2011:i:3:p:344-366
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