The Effects of Joint Taxation of Married Couples on Labor Supply and Non-wage Income
The United States changed its tax treatment of married couples in 1948, from a system in which each spouse paid taxes on his or her own income to a system in which a married couple is taxed as a unit. The switch from separate to joint taxation changed incentives for labor supply and asset ownership. This paper investigates the effects of the conversion to joint taxation, taking advantage of a natural experiment created by cross-state variation in property laws. Married individuals in states with community property laws had always been taxed as if each spouse had earned half of the couple's income, and thus were unaffected by the 1948 legal change. Comparing the behavior of taxpayers in affected and unaffected states indicates that the tax change is associated with a decline of 0.9-1.6 percentage points in the labor force participation rate of married women, consistent with the higher first-dollar tax rates they faced after 1948. Married women were also 0.6-1.9 percentage points less likely to have non-wage income after 1948, reflecting pre-1948 allocation of family assets to wives for tax purposes. The effects of joint taxation on married men's labor force participation and non-wage income holding are generally not statistically significant.
|Date of creation:||23 Mar 2006|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: P.O. Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795|
Phone: (757) 221-4311
Fax: (757) 221-2390
Web page: http://www.wm.edu/economics/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Patricia F. Apps & Ray Rees, 1999. "Individual versus Joint Taxation in Models with Household Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 393-403, April.
- Casey B. Mulligan, 1998. "Pecuniary Incentives to Work in the United States during World War II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 1033-1077, October.
- Gustafsson, Siv, 1992. "Separate Taxation and Married Women's Labor Supply: A Comparison of West Germany and Sweden," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 5(1), pages 61-85, February.
- John Piggott & John Whalley, 1999. "Reply to Apps/Rees and Gottfried/Richter," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 410-418, April.
- Jane H. Leuthold, 1984. "Income Splitting and Women's Labor-Force Participation," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 38(1), pages 98-105, October.
- Nada Eissa, 1995. "Taxation and Labor Supply of Married Women: The Tax Reform Act of 1986 as a Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 5023, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robert A. Moffitt & Mark Wilhelm, 1998.
"Taxation and the Labor Supply: Decisions of the Affluent,"
NBER Working Papers
6621, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Robert A Moffitt & Mark Wilhelm, 2000. "Taxation and the Labor Supply - Decisions of the Affluent," Economics Working Paper Archive 414, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
- Melvin Stephens Jr. & Jennifer Ward-Batts, 2001.
"The Impact of Separate Taxation on the Intra-Household Allocation of Assets: Evidence from the UK,"
NBER Working Papers
8380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Stephens, Melvin Jr & Ward-Batts, Jennifer, 2004. "The impact of separate taxation on the intra-household allocation of assets: evidence from the UK," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1989-2007, August.
- 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
- Rosen, Harvey S., 1976. "A methodology for evaluating tax reform proposals," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 105-121.
- Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 2000.
"Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies,"
Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages F672-94, November.
- Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1994. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," NBER Working Papers 4956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-38, May.
- Piggott, John & Whalley, John, 1996.
"The Tax Unit and Household Production,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 398-418, April.
- Peter Gottfried & Wolfram Richter, 1999. "The Tax Unit and Household Production: Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 404-409, April.
- 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.
- Michael J. Boskin & Eytan Sheshinski, 1979. "Optimal Tax Treatment of the Family: Married Couples," NBER Working Papers 0368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Goldin, Claudia D, 1991. "The Role of World War II in the Rise of Women's Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 741-56, September.
- Paul A. Samuelson, 1956. "Social Indifference Curves," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 1-22.
- Daron Acemoglu & David H. Autor & David Lyle, 2004.
"Women, War, and Wages: The Effect of Female Labor Supply on the Wage Structure at Midcentury,"
Journal of Political Economy,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 497-551, June.
- Daron Acemoglu & David H. Autor & David Lyle, 2002. "Women, War and Wages: The Effect of Female Labor Supply on the Wage Structure at Mid-Century," NBER Working Papers 9013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Eissa, Nada & Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 2004. "Taxes and the labor market participation of married couples: the earned income tax credit," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1931-1958, August.
- Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2007. "Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980â€“2000," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 393-438.
- Herbert J. Schuetze, 2006. "Income splitting among the self-employed," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1195-1220, November.
- Slemrod, Joel, 2006. "The Role of Misconceptions in Support for Regressive Tax Reform," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 59(1), pages 57-75, March.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cwm:wpaper:28. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Daifeng He)or (Alfredo Pereira)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.