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Redistribution in Switzerland: Social Cohesion or Simple Smoothing of Lifetime Incomes?

  • Monika Engler
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    Using the example of Switzerland, this paper examines the extent to which the state and the social security institutions change the income distribution. Two sets of questions are examined: (1) Who benefits from the public services, and who bears the public costs? (2) To what extent does an annual redistribution involve redistribution (a) across households with different lifetime income, and (b) across different phases of life within the same households? Budget incidence analyses and pseudo panel procedures allow to compare annual and lifetime household incomes that arise before and after transfers. The results suggest that public interventions induce substantial redistribution, which is due primarily, however, to income-smoothing transfers within households and not to redistribution across households.

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    Article provided by Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES) in its journal Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics.

    Volume (Year): 147 (2011)
    Issue (Month): II (June)
    Pages: 107-155

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    Handle: RePEc:ses:arsjes:2011-ii-1
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    1. Davies, James B & St-Hilaire, France & Whalley, John, 1984. "Some Calculations of Lifetime Tax Incidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 633-49, September.
    2. Fullerton, Don & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 2002. "Tax incidence," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 26, pages 1787-1872 Elsevier.
    3. Aaron, Henry & McGuire, Martin, 1970. "Public Goods and Income Distribution," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 38(6), pages 907-20, November.
    4. Deaton, Angus, 1985. "Panel data from time series of cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 109-126.
    5. Verbeek, M.J.C.M. & Nijman, T.E., 1990. "Can cohort data be treated as genuine panel data?," Discussion Paper 1990-64, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    6. Nelissen, Jan H. M., 1998. "Annual versus lifetime income redistribution by social security," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 223-249, May.
    7. Jean-Marc Falter, 2006. "Equivalence Scales and Subjective Data in Switzerland," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 142(II), pages 263-284, June.
    8. Browning, Martin & Deaton, Angus & Irish, Margaret, 1985. "A Profitable Approach to Labor Supply and Commodity Demands over the Life-Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(3), pages 503-43, May.
    9. Nijman, T.E. & Verbeek, M.J.C.M., 1992. "Can cohort data be treated as genuine panal data?," Other publications TiSEM 03b18da0-e22f-4b8a-b605-c, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
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