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Analyzing a Flat Income Tax in the Netherlands

Author

Listed:
  • Ruud A. De Mooij
  • Bas Jacobs
  • Kees Folmer

Abstract

A flat tax rate on income has gained popularity in European countries. This paper assesses the attractiveness of such a flat tax in achieving redistributive objectives with the least cost to labour market performance. We do so by using a detailed applied general equilibrium model for the Netherlands. The model is empirically grounded in the data and encompasses decisions on hours worked, labour force participation, skill formation, wage bargaining between unions and firms, matching frictions, and a wide variety of institutional details. The simulations suggest that the replacement of the current tax system in the Netherlands by a flat rate will harm labour market performance if aggregate income inequality is contained. This finding bolsters the notion that a linear tax is less efficient than a non-linear tax to obtain redistributive goals.

Suggested Citation

  • Ruud A. De Mooij & Bas Jacobs & Kees Folmer, 2007. "Analyzing a Flat Income Tax in the Netherlands," CESifo Working Paper Series 1890, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1890
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. van Ewijk, Casper & Tang, Paul J.G., 2007. "Unions, progressive taxes, and education subsidies," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 1119-1139, December.
    2. 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.
    3. Bas Jacobs, 2005. "Optimal Income Taxation with Endogenous Human Capital," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(2), pages 295-315, May.
    4. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
    5. Bovenberg, A. Lans & Graafland, Johan J. & de Mooij, Ruud A., 2000. "Tax reform and the Dutch labor market: an applied general equilibrium approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 193-214, October.
    6. A. Lans Bovenberg & Bas Jacobs, 2005. "Redistribution and Education Subsidies are Siamese Twins," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-036/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    7. Lans Bovenberg, A. & Jacobs, Bas, 2005. "Redistribution and education subsidies are Siamese twins," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2005-2035, December.
    8. Seade, J. K., 1977. "On the shape of optimal tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 203-235, April.
    9. Tuomala, Matti, 1990. "Optimal Income Tax and Redistribution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286059.
    10. Michiel Evers & Ruud de Mooij & Daniƫl van Vuuren, 2005. "What explains the variation in estimates of labour supply elasticities?," CPB Discussion Paper 51, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    11. Ricardo Varsano & Kevin Kim & Michael Keen, 2006. "The "Flat Tax(es)"; Principles and Evidence," IMF Working Papers 06/218, International Monetary Fund.
    12. Emmanuel Saez, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 205-229.
    13. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073.
    14. Diamond, Peter A, 1998. "Optimal Income Taxation: An Example with a U-Shaped Pattern of Optimal Marginal Tax Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 83-95, March.
    15. Graafland, J.J. & Huizinga, F.H., 1998. "Taxes and benefits in a non-linear wage equation," MPRA Paper 21076, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Alari PAULUS & Andreas PEICHL, "undated". "Effects of Flat Tax Reforms in Western Europe on Equity and Efficiency," EcoMod2008 23800105, EcoMod.
    2. Paulus, Alari & Peichl, Andreas, 2009. "Effects of flat tax reforms in Western Europe," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 620-636, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    flat tax; labour market; general equilibrium; equity; optimal taxation;

    JEL classification:

    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • D50 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - General
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General

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