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Is an inequality-neutral flat tax reform really neutral?

Let us assume a revenue- and inequality-neutral flat tax reform shifting from a graduated-rate tax. Is this reform really distributional neutral? Traditionally, there has been a bias toward the inequality analysis, forgetting other relevant aspects of the income distribution. This kind of reforms implies a set of composite transfers, both progressive and regressive, even though inequality remains unchanged. This paper shows that polarization is a useful tool for characterizing this set of transfers caused by inequality-neutral tax reforms. A simulation exercise illustrates how polarization can be used to discriminate between two inequality-neutral tax alternatives.

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Paper provided by Centro de Estudios Andaluces in its series Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces with number E2004/43.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cea:doctra:e2004_43
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  1. Hoy, M. & Davies, J., 1991. "The Normative Significance of Using Third-Degree Stochastic Dominance in Comparing Income Distributions," Working Papers 1991-8, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
  2. Rolf Aaberge, 2000. "Ranking Intersecting Lorenz Curves," Discussion Papers 271, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  3. Buhmann, Brigitte, et al, 1988. "Equivalence Scales, Well-Being, Inequality, and Poverty: Sensitivity Estimates across Ten Countries Using the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(2), pages 115-42, June.
  4. Davies, James B. & Hoy, Michael, 2002. "Flat rate taxes and inequality measurement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 33-46, April.
  5. Coulter, Fiona A E & Cowell, Frank A & Jenkins, Stephen P, 1992. "Differences in Needs and Assessment of Income Distributions," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 77-124, April.
  6. Russell Davidson & Jean-Yves Duclos, 2000. "Statistical Inference for Stochastic Dominance and for the Measurement of Poverty and Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(6), pages 1435-1464, November.
  7. Davies, James & Hoy, Michael, 1995. "Making Inequality Comparisons When Lorenz Curves Intersect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 980-86, September.
  8. Steven P. Cassou & Kevin J. Lansing, 2004. "Growth Effects of Shifting from a Graduated-rate Tax System to a Flat Tax," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(2), pages 194-213, April.
  9. Cowell, Frank A. & Victoria-Feser, Maria-Pia, 1996. "Poverty measurement with contaminated data: A robust approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1761-1771, December.
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