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Family Taxation, Fertility, and Horizontal Equity: A Political Economy Perspective

  • Alessandro Balestrino

This paper intends to make a two-fold contribution to the literature. First, it studies a political economy model of family taxation using a household economics approach to behaviour; the nature of the winning policy is found to depend on whether i) the parents control their fertility or not, ii) they value their children or not. Second, it investigates the question whether the winning policy is capable to achieve horizontal equity (i.e. the requirement that all agents who are in all "relevant" senses identical should be treated identically); it turns out that under endogenous fertility, any winning policy trivially satisfies horizontal equity, but if fertility is exogenous for some of (or all) the parents, horizontal equity is virtually impossible to satisfy. The assessment on whether a given family taxation scheme attains horizontal equity objectives cannot therefore be independent from the assessment on the nature of fertility behaviour.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2012/wp-cesifo-2012-03/cesifo1_wp3774.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3774.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3774
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  1. CREMER, Helmuth & DELLIS, Arnaud & PESTIEAU, Pierre, . "Family size and optimal income taxation," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1603, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Jordahl, Henrik & Luca Micheletto, 2002. "Optimal Utilitarian Taxation and Horizontal Equity," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 107, Royal Economic Society.
  3. Cigno, Alessandro, 1986. "Fertility and the Tax-Benefit System: A Reconsideration of the Theory of Family Taxation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(384), pages 1035-51, December.
  4. Alessandro Balestrino & Alessandro Cigno & Anna Pettini, 2002. "Endogenous Fertility and the Design of Family Taxation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 175-193, March.
  5. Alan J. Auerbach & Kevin A. Hassett, 2002. "A New Measure of Horizontal Equity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1116-1125, September.
  6. Ted Bergstrom & Soren Blomquist, 1994. "The Political Economy of Publicly Supplied Day Care," Papers _034, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
  7. Myles,Gareth D., 1995. "Public Economics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521497695, June.
  8. Gans, Joshua S. & Smart, Michael, 1996. "Majority voting with single-crossing preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 219-237, February.
  9. Mervyn A. King, 1980. "An Index of Inequality: With Applications to Horizontal Equity and Social Mobility," NBER Working Papers 0468, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Theodore C. Bergstrom & Sören Blomquist, . "The Political Economy of Subsidized Day Care," ELSE working papers 015, ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution.
  11. Alessandro Cigno, 1998. "Fertility decisions when infant survival is endogenous," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 11(1), pages 21-28.
  12. King, Mervyn A, 1983. "An Index of Inequality: With Applications to Horizontal Equity and Social Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(1), pages 99-115, January.
  13. Dasgupta, Partha, 2000. "Reproductive externalities and fertility behaviour," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(4-6), pages 619-644, May.
  14. Gravelle, Jane & Gravelle, Jennifer, 2006. "Horizontal Equity and Family Tax Treatment: The Orphan Child of Tax Policy," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 59(3), pages 631-49, September.
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