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Gender Equality Goals in the Tax System

Author

Listed:
  • Margit Schratzenstaller

    (WIFO)

  • Fanny Dellinger

Abstract

Performance-oriented budgeting at the federal level requires every ministry to formulate one gender equality objective. One of the gender equality objectives of the Federal Ministry of Finance aims at a positive contribution of the tax system with regard to a more equal distribution of paid and unpaid work between men and women. Against this background the study presents an overview of recent empirical results in the literature concerning the influence of taxes on women's labour supply and the distribution of paid and unpaid work in couples as well as on women's educational choices and female entrepreneurship. Hereby direct as well as indirect taxes are considered. This survey shows that women's labour supply in Austria (similar to other industrialised countries) is significantly more responsive to the overall tax burden on labour compared to men. Moreover, the Austrian income tax system as well as the system of social security contributions offers a number of tax relieves which can be expected to influence women's participation decisions as well as the distribution of paid and unpaid work between men and women. Obviously the burden of direct taxes on labour incomes (wage tax, social security contributions) plays the most important role. However, also indirect taxes might influence women's labour supply and the distribution of work in couples, whereby this issue up to now has hardly been studied empirically for industrialised countries so that there is practically no empirical evidence for these assumptions. The design of tax systems should primarily aim at avoiding or reducing negative incentives for female labour market participation and a more equal distribution of paid and unpaid work between men and women, while the introduction of special tax provisions to actively support these goals are considerably less relevant. Furthermore the literature survey suggests that taxation also influences – to a differing extent for men and women – other individual economic decisions, e.g., education decisions or the creation of enterprises. However, there is a considerable need for further research on these issues.

Suggested Citation

  • Margit Schratzenstaller & Fanny Dellinger, 2017. "Gender Equality Goals in the Tax System," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 60797, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:wfo:wstudy:60797
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    File URL: https://www.wifo.ac.at/wwa/pubid/60797
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    References listed on IDEAS

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