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Labor supply responses and welfare effects from replacing current tax rules by a flat tax: Empirical evidence from Italy, Norway and Sweden


  • Ugo Colombino

    () (Department of Economics, University of Torino, via Po 53, 10128 Turin Italy)

  • Steinar Strøm

    () (Department of Economics, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1095, Blindern, 0317 Oslo, Norway)

  • Rolf Aaberge

    () (Research Department, Statistics Norway 0033 Oslo, Norway)


This paper employs a microeconometric framework to examine the labor supply responses and the welfare effects from replacing current tax systems in Italy, Norway and Sweden by a flat tax on total income. The flat tax rates are determined so that the tax revenues are equal to the revenues as of 1992. The flat tax rates vary from 23 per cent in Italy, 25 per cent in Norway, to 29 per cent in Sweden. In all three countries the labor supply responses decline sharply with pre-reform disposable income. The results show that the efficiency costs of the current tax systems relative to a flat tax may be rather high in Norway and much lower, but positive, in Italy and Sweden. In all three countries "rich" households - defined by their pre-tax-reform income - tend to benefit (in terms of welfare) more than "poor" households. In Italy and Sweden a majority will lose from a shift to a flat tax, while in Norway a majority is predicted to win.

Suggested Citation

  • Ugo Colombino & Steinar Strøm & Rolf Aaberge, 2000. "Labor supply responses and welfare effects from replacing current tax rules by a flat tax: Empirical evidence from Italy, Norway and Sweden," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 13(4), pages 595-621.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:13:y:2000:i:4:p:595-621
    Note: Received: 19 May 1998/Accepted: 02 July 1999

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    More about this item


    Labor supply; taxation; microeconometrics; cross-country analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • D19 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Other
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply


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