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Taxes and Marriage: A Two-Sided Search Analysis

This paper studies the effects of differential tax treatment toward married and single individuals in the US on marriage formation and composition, divorce and labor supply. We develop a marriage market model with search frictions and heterogeneous agents that is sufficiently rich to capture key elements of the problem under consideration. We then calibrate the model and use it to evaluate the quantitative effects of a number of tax reforms aimed at making the tax law neutral with respect to marital status. We find that reforms can have substantial effects on the labor supply of married females and on the degree of assortative mating.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University in its series Working Papers with number 2132862.

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Handle: RePEc:asu:wpaper:2132862
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  1. Ken Burdett & Randall Wright, 1998. "Two-Sided Search with Nontransferable Utility," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 220-245, January.
  2. Shimer, R. & Smith, L., 1998. "Assortive Matching and Search," Papers 98-09, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  3. Alm, James & Whittington, Leslie A., 1997. "Income taxes and the timing of marital decisions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 219-240, May.
  4. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
  5. Chade, Hector, 2001. "Two-sided search and perfect segregation with fixed search costs," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 31-51, July.
  6. Edward C. Prescott, 1986. "Theory ahead of business cycle measurement," Staff Report 102, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. Eric French, 2000. "The effects of health, wealth, and wages on labor supply and retirement behavior," Working Paper Series WP-00-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  8. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & John A. Knowles, 2003. "More on Marriage, Fertility, and the Distribution of Income," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(3), pages 827-862, 08.
  9. BLOCH, Francis & RYDER, Harl, 1994. "Two-Sided Search, Marriages and Matchmakers," CORE Discussion Papers 1994028, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  10. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  11. Aiyagari, S.R. & Greenwood, J. & Guner, N., 1999. "On the State of the Union," RCER Working Papers 462, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  12. Burdett, Ken & Coles, Melvyn G, 1997. "Marriage and Class," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 141-68, February.
  13. Sjoquist, David L. & Walker, Mary Beth, 1995. "The Marriage Tax and the Rate and Timing of Marriage," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(4), pages 547-58, December.
  14. Feldman, Mark & Gilles, Christian, 1985. "An expository note on individual risk without aggregate uncertainty," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 26-32, February.
  15. Lones Smith, 2006. "The Marriage Model with Search Frictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(6), pages 1124-1146, December.
  16. Alm, James & Whittington, Leslie A., 1995. "Does the Income Tax Affect Marital Decisions?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(4), pages 565-72, December.
  17. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "The law of large numbers with a continuum of IID random variables," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 19-25, February.
  18. Teresa Martin & Larry Bumpass, 1989. "Recent trends in marital disruption," Demography, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 37-51, February.
  19. Berliant, Marcus & Rothstein, Paul, 2003. "Possibility, Impossibility, and History in the Origins of the Marriage Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 56(2), pages 303-17, June.
  20. Killingsworth, Mark R. & Heckman, James J., 1987. "Female labor supply: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 2, pages 103-204 Elsevier.
  21. Maria Cancian & Deborah Reed, 1999. "The impact of wives’ earnings on income inequality: Issues and estimates," Demography, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 173-184, May.
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