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The Redistributive Effect of Selected Federal Transfer and Tax Provisions


  • Thomas L. Hungerford

    (Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave, SE, Washington, DC 20540,


Several policy makers have voiced concern, bordering on alarm, over federal budget deficits and growing federal debt over the past decade and have advocated changes in spending and revenue policies to address their concerns. This study examines the redistributive effect of various federal tax provisions and transfer programs using methods that pick up important dimensions of redistribution often missed in analyses. Overall, the results are as expected—both U.S. taxes and transfers reduce income inequality. The redistributive effect, however, could be larger, if the reranking effect were reduced or eliminated. The reranking effect tends to be relatively more important for transfers than for taxes.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas L. Hungerford, 2010. "The Redistributive Effect of Selected Federal Transfer and Tax Provisions," Public Finance Review, , vol. 38(4), pages 450-472, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:38:y:2010:i:4:p:450-472

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    Cited by:

    1. Ivica Urban, 2014. "Contributions of taxes and benefits to vertical and horizontal effects," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 42(3), pages 619-645, March.
    2. Chen, Ping-ho & Chu, Angus C. & Chu, Hsun & Lai, Ching-chong, 2017. "Short-run and long-run effects of capital taxation on innovation and economic growth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 207-221.


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