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Reforming the Australian Tax Transfer System

The tax policy agenda in Australia for more than a decade has been largely driven by a perceived need to reduce the level of income taxation and the progression of marginal rates, financing the revenue shortfall with a broad based consumption tax. A major reform of this kind is now being implemented under the Howard plan for “a new tax system”. Recent debate has turned to the possibility of an Earned Income Tax Credit scheme as a solution to the problem of an emerging class of working poor resulting from ongoing labour market reforms. This paper subjects these policy reforms to a detailed theoretical and empirical analysis. The findings suggest that the reforms are seriously limited in terms of their distributional outcomes, particularly in the context of growing wage inequality in the labour market. The analysis also shows that the reforms are unlikely to improve the efficiency and growth of the economy due to disincentive effects on labour supply and saving behaviour.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 413.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Nov 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:413
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  1. Boskin, Michael J. & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1983. "Optimal tax treatment of the family: Married couples," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 281-297, April.
  2. Apps,Patricia Savage,Elizabeth, 1987. "Labour supply,Welfare rankings and the measurement of inequality," Discussion Paper Serie A 152, University of Bonn, Germany.
  3. Apps, P.F. & Rees, R., 1993. "Labor Supply, Household Production and Intra-Family Welfare Distribution," Papers 248, Australian National University - Department of Economics.
  4. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Julian McCrae & Costas Meghir, 2000. "The labour market impact of the working families’ tax credit," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 75-103, March.
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