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Optimal Taxation, Income Inequality and the Household

Listed author(s):
  • Patricia Apps
  • Ray Rees

This paper analyses optimal piecewise linear tax systems for two-earner households, based on joint and individual incomes respectively. It models the interaction between wage rates and variation in child care prices and productivities as determinants of across-household heterogene- ity in second earner labour supply. We find that individual taxation is welfare-superior to joint taxation in models that match the data on empirical wage distributions, on grounds of both efficiency and equity. The main reason for this is the inequity created by income splitting in the presence of a high degree of inequality in the primary earner wage distribution.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp5845.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 5845.

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Date of creation: 2016
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_5845
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  1. 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.
  2. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2014. "Optimal Taxation of Top Labor Incomes: A Tale of Three Elasticities," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 230-271, February.
  3. Elisabeth Gugl, 2009. "Income splitting, specialization, and intra-family distribution," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 42(3), pages 1050-1071, August.
  4. LaLumia, Sara, 2008. "The effects of joint taxation of married couples on labor supply and non-wage income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1698-1719, July.
  5. Orazio Attanasio & Hamish Low & Virginia Sánchez-Marcos, 2008. "Explaining Changes in Female Labor Supply in a Life-Cycle Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1517-1552, September.
  6. James J. Heckman, 1974. "Effects of Child-Care Programs on Women's Work Effort," NBER Chapters,in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 136-169 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Alberto Alesina & Andrea Ichino & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2011. "Gender-Based Taxation and the Division of Family Chores," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 1-40, May.
  8. Laurens Cherchye & Bram De Rock & Frederic Vermeulen, 2012. "Married with Children: A Collective Labor Supply Model with Detailed Time Use and Intrahousehold Expenditure Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3377-3405, December.
  9. Patricia Apps & Ngo Long & Ray Rees, 2014. "Optimal Piecewise Linear Income Taxation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 16(4), pages 523-545, 08.
  10. Martin Feldstein & Daniel R. Feenberg, 1996. "The Taxation of Two-Earner Families," NBER Chapters,in: Empirical Foundations of Household Taxation, pages 39-75 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Apps, Patricia & Rees, Ray, 1999. "On the taxation of trade within and between households," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 241-263, August.
  12. Apps, Patricia F. & Rees, Ray, 1988. "Taxation and the household," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 355-369, April.
  13. Raj Chetty, 2009. "Sufficient Statistics for Welfare Analysis: A Bridge Between Structural and Reduced-Form Methods," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 451-488, May.
  14. Rees, Ray, 1988. "Taxation and the Household," Munich Reprints in Economics 3411, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  15. Viktor Steiner & Katharina Wrohlich, 2008. "Introducing Family Tax Splitting in Germany: How Would It Affect the Income Distribution, Work Incentives, and Household Welfare?," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 64(1), pages 115-142, March.
  16. Bev Dahlby, 2008. "The Marginal Cost of Public Funds: Theory and Applications," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262042509, January.
  17. Eytan Sheshinski, 1972. "The Optimal Linear Income-tax," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 39(3), pages 297-302.
  18. Kaushik Basu, 2006. "Gender and Say: a Model of Household Behaviour with Endogenously Determined Balance of Power," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(511), pages 558-580, 04.
  19. Sandmo, Agnar, 1990. "Tax Distortions and Household Production," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 78-90, January.
  20. Tuomala, Matti, 1984. "On the optimal income taxation : Some further numerical results," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 351-366, April.
  21. Petter Lundborg & Anton Nilsson & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2014. "Parental Education and Offspring Outcomes: Evidence from the Swedish Compulsory School Reform," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 253-278, January.
  22. Slemrod, Joel & Yitzhaki, Shlomo & Mayshar, Joram & Lundholm, Michael, 1994. "The optimal two-bracket linear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 269-290, February.
  23. Emmanuel Saez & Joel Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 3-50, March.
  24. Sheshinski, Eytan, 1989. "Note on the shape of the optimum income tax schedule," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 201-215, November.
  25. 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.
  26. Stern, N. H., 1976. "On the specification of models of optimum income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 123-162.
  27. Viktor Steiner & Katharina Wrohlich, 2004. "Household Taxation, Income Splitting and Labor Supply Incentives – A Microsimulation Study for Germany," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 50(3), pages 541-568.
  28. Apps, Patricia, 1982. "Institutional inequality and tax incidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 217-242, July.
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