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Income Taxation and Marital Decisions

  • Hector Chade

    (Arizona State University)

  • Gustavo Ventura

    (Pennsylvania State University)

Differential tax treatment of married and single people is a key feature of the tax law in the US and other countries. We develop a matching model with search frictions to analyze the effects these tax provisions have on marriage formation and dissolution. Our main results are the following: (i) although an increase in the .marriage tax. reduces the number of marriages, there is a two-sided search effect that can substantially mitigate its impact on marriage formation and dissolution; (ii) an increase in the .marriage tax. need not make both men and women more reluctant to marry; (iii) the effects of a given change in the differential taxation on marital behavior depend on whether it is implemented via changes in the tax rates that singles face or in the tax rates that married people face, as well as on the ability of the spouses to transfer utility between them; (iv) a computed example reveals that large changes in the marriage tax penalty can lead to small changes in the number of marriages and divorces, and that the number of divorces can increase with a reduction in the 'marriage tax.' (Copyright: Elsevier)

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.red.2005.01.008
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Article provided by Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics in its journal Review of Economic Dynamics.

Volume (Year): 8 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 (Juky)
Pages: 565-599

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Handle: RePEc:red:issued:v:8:y:2005:i:3:p:565-599
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  1. Hector Chade, . "Search, Heterogeneity, and Noisy Observable Types," Working Papers 2133485, Department of Economics, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.
  2. Shimer, R. & Smith, L., 1997. "Assortative Matching and Search," Working papers 97-2b, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Mark Bagnoli & Ted Bergstrom, 2005. "Log-concave probability and its applications," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 445-469, 08.
  4. Ken Burdett & Randall Wright, 1998. "Two-Sided Search with Nontransferable Utility," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 220-245, January.
  5. Burdett, Ken & Coles, Melvyn G, 1997. "Marriage and Class," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 141-68, February.
  6. Alm, James & Whittington, Leslie A., 1995. "Does the Income Tax Affect Marital Decisions?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(4), pages 565-72, December.
  7. Chade, Hector, 2006. "Matching with noise and the acceptance curse," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 129(1), pages 81-113, July.
  8. Sjoquist, David L. & Walker, Mary Beth, 1995. "The Marriage Tax and the Rate and Timing of Marriage," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(4), pages 547-58, December.
  9. BLOCH, Francis & RYDER, Harl, 1994. "Two-Sided Search, Marriages and Matchmakers," CORE Discussion Papers 1994028, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  10. Lones Smith, 2006. "The Marriage Model with Search Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(6), pages 1124-1146, December.
  11. Hector Chade, . "Two-Sided Search and Perfect Segregation with Fixed Search Costs," Working Papers 2132861, Department of Economics, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University.
  12. Eeckhout, Jan, 1999. "Bilateral Search and Vertical Heterogeneity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 869-87, November.
  13. Burdett, Kenneth & Coles, Melvyn G, 1999. "Long-Term Partnership Formation: Marriage and Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages F307-34, June.
  14. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  15. An, Mark Yuying, 1998. "Logconcavity versus Logconvexity: A Complete Characterization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 350-369, June.
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