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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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    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. J. A. Mirrlees, 1976. "Optimal Tax Theory: A Synthesis," Working papers 176, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    7. Kleven, Henrik & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup & Saez, Emmanuel, 2006. "The Optimal Income Taxation of Couples," CEPR Discussion Papers 5978, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. 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.
    9. Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive Versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," NBER Working Papers 7708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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. Seade, J. K., 1977. "On the shape of optimal tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 203-235, April.
    12. CREMER, Helmuth & LOZACHMEUR, Jean-Marie & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 2007. "Income taxation of couples and the tax unit choice," CORE Discussion Papers 2007013, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    13. Laroque, Guy & Salanié, Bernard, 2008. "Does Fertility Respond to Financial Incentives?," IZA Discussion Papers 3575, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1981. "Self-Selection and Pareto Efficient Taxation," NBER Working Papers 0632, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. 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.
    16. Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," NBER Working Papers 7628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. 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, .
    18. 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.
    19. Ebert, Udo, 1992. "A reexamination of the optimal nonlinear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 47-73, October.
    20. Helmuth Cremer & Arnaud Dellis & Pierre Pestieau, 2003. "Family size and optimal income taxation," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 37-54, 02.
    21. Alma Cohen & Rajeev Dehejia & Dmitri Romanov, 2007. "Do Financial Incentives Affect Fertility?," NBER Working Papers 13700, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. 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.
    23. Moav, Omer, 2001. "Cheap Children and the Persistence of Poverty," CEPR Discussion Papers 3059, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    24. Cigno, Alessandro, 1993. "Intergenerational transfers without altruism : Family, market and state," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 505-518, November.
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