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Taxing Children: The Re-distributive Role of Child Benefits - Revisited

  • Tomer Blumkin
  • Yoram Margalioth
  • Efraim Sadka
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    In this paper, we challenge the conventional wisdom that due to the negative correlation between family size and earning ability, family size can be used as a 'tagging' device, and calls for subsidizing children (via child allowances) to enhance egalitarian objectives. We show that the case for subsidizing children crucially hinges on child allowances being provided on a universal basis. Notably, when child benefits are means-tested, taxing children at the margin (namely, setting the total benefits to decline with the number of children) is socially optimal.

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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2010/wp-cesifo-2010-02/cesifo1_wp2970.pdf
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    Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2970.

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    Date of creation: 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2970
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    1. CREMER, Helmuth & DELLIS, Arnaud & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 2001. "Family size and optimal income taxation," CORE Discussion Papers 2001021, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    2. Gary S. Becker, 1960. "An Economic Analysis of Fertility," NBER Chapters, in: Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries, pages 209-240 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Omer Moav, 2005. "Cheap Children and the Persistence of Poverty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 88-110, 01.
    4. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1982. "Self-selection and Pareto efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 213-240, March.
    5. 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.
    6. Guy Laroque & Bernard Salanié, 2008. "Does Fertility Respond to Financial Incentives?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2339, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
    8. Alma Cohen & Rajeev Dehejia & Dmitri Romanov, 2007. "Do Financial Incentives Affect Fertility?," NBER Working Papers 13700, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Laroque, Guy & Salanié, Bernard, 2005. "Does Fertility Respond to Financial Incentives?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5007, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Diamond, P., 1994. "Optimal Income Taxation: An Exemple with a U-Shaped Pattern of Optimal Marginal Tax Rates," Working papers 94-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    11. Saez, Emmanuel, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 205-29, January.
    12. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive Versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073, August.
    13. Ebert, Udo, 1992. "A reexamination of the optimal nonlinear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 47-73, October.
    14. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Emmanuel Saez, 2009. "The Optimal Income Taxation of Couples," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(2), pages 537-560, 03.
    15. J. A. Mirrlees, 1976. "Optimal Tax Theory: A Synthesis," Working papers 176, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    16. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
    17. Sadka, Efraim, 1976. "On Income Distribution, Incentive Effects and Optimal Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 261-67, June.
    18. Cigno, Alessandro, 1993. "Intergenerational transfers without altruism : Family, market and state," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 505-518, November.
    19. Cigno, Alessandro & Pettini, Anna, 2002. "Taxing family size and subsidizing child-specific commodities?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 75-90, April.
    20. Phelps, Edmund S, 1973. "Taxation of Wage Income for Economic Justice," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 331-54, August.
    21. CREMER, Helmuth & LOZACHMEUR, Jean-Marie & PESTIEAU, Pierre, . "Income taxation of couples and the tax unit choice," CORE Discussion Papers RP 2372, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    22. Balcer, Yves & Sadka, Efraim, 1986. "Equivalence scales, horizontal equity and optimal taxation under utilitarianism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 79-97, February.
    23. Helmuth Cremer & Jean-Marie Lozachmeur & Pierre Pestieau, 2007. "Income Taxation of Couples and the Tax Unit Choice," CESifo Working Paper Series 2005, CESifo Group Munich.
    24. Hanushek, Eric A, 1992. "The Trade-Off between Child Quantity and Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 84-117, February.
    25. Becker, Gary S & Lewis, H Gregg, 1973. "On the Interaction between the Quantity and Quality of Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages S279-88, Part II, .
    26. Seade, J. K., 1977. "On the shape of optimal tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 203-235, April.
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