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Inégalité et redistribution du revenu, avec une application au Canada

Author

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  • Duclos, Jean-Yves

    (CRÉFA, Département d’économique, Université Laval)

  • Tabi, Martin

    (CRÉFA, Département d’économique, Université Laval)

Abstract

The usefulness of Lorenz curves for analysing the distribution of income is well understood since the influential article of Atkinson (1970). We show in this paper how combining Lorenz and concentration curves for incomes, taxes and transfers allows one to summarise easily and intuitively the impact of government on the distribution of income. We more particularly look at income redistribution and at the vertical and horizontal equity exerted by direct taxes and transfers. By applying "ethical weights" to the distance between the Lorenz and the concentration curves, we obtain summary indices of inequality, redistribution and equity that are easily decomposed additively into separate tax and benefit components. These indices are a generalisation of the well-known Gini index of inequality. The approach is illustrated using micro data on the distribution and the redistribution of income in Canada in the last decade. It confirms the well-known result that the inequality of gross income increased between 1981 and 1990, whereas the inequality of net income fell during the same period. The redistribution exerted by the tax and transfer system increased considerably during that period, at the cost of a higher level of horizontal inequity. Income redistribution is largely generated by the group of transfers related to retirement and old age. As for the redistributive impact of direct taxes, it is quite sensitive to the value of the ethical parameter used in computing the summary indices of equity and redistribution. L’utilité des courbes de Lorenz pour l’analyse de la répartition des revenus est bien connue depuis l’article influent d’Atkinson (1970). Nous indiquons dans le présent article comment l’usage combiné de ces courbes de Lorenz et des courbes de concentration des revenus, des impôts ou des transferts permet de résumer facilement et intuitivement l’impact de l’État sur la distribution des revenus. Nous nous intéressons plus particulièrement à la redistribution des revenus ainsi qu’à l’équité verticale et l’iniquité horizontale exercées par l’impôt direct et les politiques de transferts. En appliquant des poids « éthiques » à la distance entre les courbes de Lorenz et de concentration, l’on obtient des indices synthétiques d’inégalité, de redistribution et d’équité qui peuvent être facilement décomposés en contributions individuelles des différents types d’impôts et de transferts. Ces indices représentent une généralisation et une extension de l’indice d’inégalité bien connu de Gini. Cette approche est illustrée à l’aide de la distribution et de la redistribution des revenus au Canada au cours de la dernière décennie. On confirme le résultat bien connu que l’inégalité des revenus bruts s’est accrue de 1981 à 1990 alors qu’elle a chuté pour le revenu net. La redistribution opérée par le système fiscal s’est considérablement accrue au cours de cette décennie, au prix entre autres choses d’une plus grande iniquité horizontale. Le groupe de transferts reliés à la retraite et à la vieillesse est celui qui exerce de loin le plus d’impact sur la redistribution des revenus. L’impact redistributif de l’impôt direct est quant à lui très sensible au paramètre de subjectivité éthique utilisé.

Suggested Citation

  • Duclos, Jean-Yves & Tabi, Martin, 1999. "Inégalité et redistribution du revenu, avec une application au Canada," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 75(1), pages 95-122, mars-juin.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:actuec:v:75:y:1999:i:1:p:95-122
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Russell Davidson & Jean-Yves Duclos, 1997. "Statistical Inference for the Measurement of the Incidence of Taxes and Transfers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(6), pages 1453-1466, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Jalbert, Vincent & Araar, Abdelkrim, 2000. "Classical Horizontal Inequity and Reranking: an Integrated Approach," Cahiers de recherche 0002, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
    2. Marcelin Joanis & Edgard Rodriguez, 2013. "Public Redistribution and Inequality in a Period of Fiscal Consolidation: A Decomposition Analysis for Canada in the 1980s and 1990s," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 32(2), pages 218-238, June.

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