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The Efficiency Case of Universality

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Abstract

The paper analyzes the replacement of universal social programs with targeted social benefits. We define "universality" as separability of tax/transfer system in income and other non-monetary attributes, and introduce the concept of "parallel equity" - a requirement that like differences in needs should be treated alike. We develop a model which shows that under specificed assumptions universality is efficient as well as equitable; "clawback" results in an inefficient structure of net marginal tax rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicholas Rowe & Frances Woolley, 1996. "The Efficiency Case of Universality," Carleton Economic Papers 96-05, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised May 1999.
  • Handle: RePEc:car:carecp:96-05
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    File URL: http://www1.carleton.ca/economics/research/working-papers/carleton-economic-papers-cep-1991-2000/
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Samuelson, Paul A & Swamy, S, 1974. "Invariant Economic Index Numbers and Canonical Duality: Survey and Synthesis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(4), pages 566-593, September.
    2. S. J. Prais, 1959. "Whose Cost of Living?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(2), pages 126-134.
    3. Franklin M. Fisher & Zvi Griliches, 1995. "Aggregate Price Indices, New Goods, and Generics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 229-244.
    4. Kravis, Irving B & Lipsey, Robert E, 1969. "International Price Comparisons by Regression Methods," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 10(2), pages 233-246, June.
    5. Bela Balassa, 1964. "The Purchasing-Power Parity Doctrine: A Reappraisal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72, pages 584-584.
    6. Diewert, W. E., 1976. "Exact and superlative index numbers," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 115-145, May.
    7. Pollak, Robert A, 1980. "Group Cost-of-Living Indexes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 273-278, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stuart Adam, 2005. "Measuring the marginal efficiency cost of redistribution in the UK," IFS Working Papers W05/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    2. Robin Boadway & Pierre Pestieau, 2006. "Tagging and redistributive taxation," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 83-84, pages 123-147.
    3. Pierre Pestieau & Maria Racionero, 2015. "Tagging with leisure needs," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 45(4), pages 687-706, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    SOCIAL PROGRAMS; SOCIAL WELFARE; TAX POLICY; UNIVERSALITY;

    JEL classification:

    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs

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