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The Contribution of US Taxes and Social Transfers to Income Redistribution

  • Luis A. Hierro

    (Department of Economics and Economic History, University of Seville, Seville, Spain)

  • Rosario Gómez-Alvarez

    ()

    (Department of Economics and Economic History, University of Seville, Seville, Spain)

  • Pedro Atienza

    (Department of Economics and Economic History, University of Seville, Seville, Spain)

The aim of this work is to solve the problem of nonadditivity revealed by work that calculates the redistributive effects of the budget or public policies made up of different instruments of income or public spending. To do this, the authors use the Shapley value. This technique allows us to consistently, symmetrically, and directly decompose the redistributive effect and the vertical and horizontal effects. This method is consistent because the total effects can be explained by the sum of the individual contributions; it is symmetrical because it does not depend on the aggregation ranking of the instruments; and it is direct because each index can be calculated without the need to calculate the rest. The main result obtained for the case of taxes and social transfers in the United States is that previous calculations undervalued the redistributive effects and their vertical and horizontal components for taxes and transfers. Undervaluation is more important for taxes.

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Article provided by in its journal Public Finance Review.

Volume (Year): 40 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 381-400

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Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:40:y:2012:i:3:p:381-400
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  1. Ivica Urban & Peter J. Lambert, 2008. "Redistribution, Horizontal Inequity, and Reranking: How to Measure Them Properly," Public Finance Review, , vol. 36(5), pages 563-587, September.
  2. Stanislav Kolenikov & Anthony Shorrocks, 2005. "A Decomposition Analysis of Regional Poverty in Russia," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(1), pages 25-46, 02.
  3. Immervoll, Herwig & Levy, Horacio & Lietz, Christine & Mantovani, Daniela & O'Donoghue, Cathal & Sutherland, Holly & Verbist, Gerlinde, 2005. "Household Incomes and Redistribution in the European Union: Quantifying the Equalising Properties of Taxes and Benefits," IZA Discussion Papers 1824, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Ivica Urban, 2010. "Decomposing Redistributive and Reranking Effects to Reveal Contributions of Taxes and Benefits," wiiw Balkan Observatory Working Papers 85, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
  5. Jenkins, Stephen, 1988. "Reranking and the Analysis of Income Redistribution," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 35(1), pages 65-76, February.
  6. Edward N. Wolff & Ajit Zacharias, 2007. "The Distributional Consequences Of Government Spending And Taxation In The U.S., 1989 And 2000," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(4), pages 692-715, December.
  7. Bibi, Sami & Duclos, Jean-Yves, 2008. "A Comparison of the Poverty Impact of Transfers, Taxes and Market Income across Five OECD Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 3824, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Lambert, Peter J, 1985. "On the Redistributive Effect of Taxes and Benefits," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 32(1), pages 39-54, February.
  9. Lerman, Robert I. & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1995. "Changing Ranks and the Inequality Impacts of Taxes and Transfers," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(1), pages 45-59, March.
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