IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cwm/wpaper/28.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Effects of Joint Taxation of Married Couples on Labor Supply and Non-wage Income

Author

Listed:
  • Sara LaLumia

    (Department of Economics, College of William and Mary)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Sara LaLumia, 2006. "The Effects of Joint Taxation of Married Couples on Labor Supply and Non-wage Income," Working Papers 28, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwm:wpaper:28
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://economics.wm.edu/wp/cwm_wp28.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Slemrod, Joel, 2006. "The Role of Misconceptions in Support for Regressive Tax Reform," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 59(1), pages 57-75, March.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Herbert J. Schuetze, 2006. "Income splitting among the self-employed," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1195-1220, November.
    8. Paul A. Samuelson, 1956. "Social Indifference Curves," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 1-22.
    9. 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.
    10. O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), 1999. "Handbook of Labor Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 3.
    11. 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.
    12. Rosen, Harvey S., 1976. "A methodology for evaluating tax reform proposals," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 105-121.
    13. 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 741-756, September.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 2000. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages 672-694, November.
    17. 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.
    18. 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.
    19. 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.
    20. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2007. "Changes in the Labor Supply Behavior of Married Women: 1980–2000," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 393-438.
    21. 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.
    22. 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 334-338, May.
    23. repec:hrv:faseco:30703972 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Mizuki Komura, 2013. "Tax reform and endogenous gender bargaining power," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(2), pages 175-192, June.
    2. 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.
    3. Kalíšková, Klára, 2014. "Labor supply consequences of family taxation: Evidence from the Czech Republic," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 234-244.
    4. Herwig Immervoll & Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Nicolaj Verdelin, 2008. "An Evaluation of the Tax-Transfer Treatment of Married Couples in European Countries," EPRU Working Paper Series 08-03, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    5. Alpert, Abby & Powell, David, 2014. "Estimating Intensive and Extensive Tax Responsiveness: Do Older Workers Respond to Income Taxes?," Working Papers 987-1, RAND Corporation.
    6. Olivier Bargain & Kristian Orsini & Andreas Peichl, 2014. "Comparing Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the United States: New Results," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(3), pages 723-838.
    7. Klara Kaliskova, 2013. "Family Taxation and the Female Labor Supply: Evidence from the Czech Republic," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp496, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    8. Guner, Nezih & Kaygusuz, Remzi & Ventura, Gustavo, 2012. "Taxing women: A macroeconomic analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 111-128.
    9. Isis Gaddis & Stephan Klasen, 2014. "Economic development, structural change, and women’s labor force participation:," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(3), pages 639-681, July.
    10. Cremer, Helmuth & Lozachmeur, Jean-Marie & Maldonado, Dario & Roeder, Kerstin, 2016. "Household bargaining and the design of couples’ income taxation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 454-470.
    11. Olivier Bargain & Kristian Orsini & Andreas Peichl, 2014. "Comparing Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the United States: New Results," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(3), pages 723-838.
    12. Jeffrey Thompson, 2012. "Raising Revenue from High-Income Households: Should States Continue to Place the Lowest Tax Rates on Those with the Highest Incomes?," Published Studies revenue_peri_march5, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
    13. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Emmanuel Saez, 2007. "The Optimal Income Taxation of Couples as a Multi-Dimensional Screening Problem," Working Papers 2007-1, Princeton University. Economics Department..
    14. Hans Fehr & Manuel Kallweit & Fabian Kindermann, 2013. "Reforming Family Taxation in Germany - Labor Supply vs. Insurance Effects," CESifo Working Paper Series 4386, CESifo.
    15. Helmuth Cremer & Jean-Marie Lozachmeur & Pierre Pestieau, 2012. "Income taxation of couples and the tax unit choice," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(2), pages 763-778, January.
    16. René Morissette & Feng Hou, 2008. "Does the labour supply of wives respond to husbands' wages? Canadian evidence from micro data and grouped data," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 41(4), pages 1185-1210, November.
    17. Giovanni Razzu & Carl Singleton & Mark Mitchell, 2020. "On why the gender employment gap in Britain has stalled since the early 1990s," Industrial Relations Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(6), pages 476-501, November.
    18. Mike Brewer & Anita Ratcliffe & Sarah dSmith, 2012. "Does welfare reform affect fertility? Evidence from the UK," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 245-266, January.
    19. Robert A. Moffitt, 2012. "The Reveral of the Employment-Population Ratio in the 2000s: Facts and Explanations," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 43(2 (Fall)), pages 201-264.
    20. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    joint taxation; labor supply; income shifting;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/decwmus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Daifeng He The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Daifeng He to update the entry or send us the correct address or Alfredo Pereira (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/decwmus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.