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The Impact of Tax-Benefit Systems on Low-Income Households in the Benelux Countries. A Simulation Approach Using Synthetic Datasets

Author

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  • Berger, Frederic
  • Borsenberger, Monique
  • Immervoll, Herwig
  • Lumen, Julie
  • Scholtus, Bertrand
  • de Vos, Klaas

Abstract

Computing the tax-benefit position of similar "typical" households across countries is a method widely used in comparative fiscal- and social policy research. These calculations provide convenient summary pictures of certain aspects of tax-benefit systems. They can, however, be seriously misleading because they reduce very complex systems to single point estimates. Using an integrated European tax-benefit model (EUROMOD), we substitute the typical household by a synthetic dataset, which can be used across countries. By varying certain important household characteristics (notably income), this dataset captures a much larger range of household situations. The calculations performed on this range of households not only show the tax-benefit position of many individual households but also demonstrate which household characteristics determine taxes and benefits in each country. Hypothetical calculations such as those presented here do not exploit the ability of EUROMOD to determine the impact of social and fiscal policies on actual populations. Nevertheless, they can be a valuable contribution to understanding tax-benefit systems since they allow us to separate the effects of tax-benefit rules from those of the population structure. We compute and compare disposable incomes for a large range of pre-tax-and-benefit income (so called budget constraints) of households in the Benelux countries. Disposable incomes are then decomposed to separately show the effects of each simulated tax and transfer payment. Based on these results, we illustrate the performance of the three tax-benefit systems in terms of ensuring a minimum level of household income.

Suggested Citation

  • Berger, Frederic & Borsenberger, Monique & Immervoll, Herwig & Lumen, Julie & Scholtus, Bertrand & de Vos, Klaas, 2001. "The Impact of Tax-Benefit Systems on Low-Income Households in the Benelux Countries. A Simulation Approach Using Synthetic Datasets," EUROMOD Working Papers EM3/01, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:ese:emodwp:em3-01
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Michael F. Förster, 2000. "Trends and Driving Factors in Income Distribution and Poverty in the OECD Area," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 42, OECD Publishing.
    2. Sutherland, Holly & Immervoll, Herwig & O'Donoghue, Cathal, 1999. "An introduction to EUROMOD," EUROMOD Working Papers EM0/99, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
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    Cited by:

    1. Immervoll, Herwig & O'Donoghue, Cathal, 2001. "Towards a multi purpose framework for tax benefit microsimulation," EUROMOD Working Papers EM2/01, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    2. Li, Jinjing & O'Donoghue, Cathal, 2011. "Incentives of Retirement Transition for Elderly Workers: An Analysis of Actual and Simulated Replacement Rates in Ireland," IZA Discussion Papers 5865, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Giuseppe Carone & Aino Salomäki & Herwig Immervoll & Dominique Paturot, 2003. "Indicators of unemployment and low-wage traps (marginal effective tax rates on labour)," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 197, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    4. Immervoll, Herwig & O'Donoghue, Cathal, 2002. "Welfare benefits and work incentives: an analysis of the distribution of net replacement rates in Europe using EUROMOD, a multi-country microsimulation model," EUROMOD Working Papers EM4/01, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    5. Burlacu, Irina S. & O'Donoghue, Cathal, 2012. "Differential Welfare State Impacts for Frontier Working Age Families," IZA Discussion Papers 6734, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Immervoll, Herwig, 2002. "The distribution of average and marginal effective tax rates in European Union Member States," EUROMOD Working Papers EM2/02, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    7. Lietz, Christine & Mantovani, Daniela, 2006. "Lessons from building and using EUROMOD," EUROMOD Working Papers EM5/06, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    8. Immervoll, Herwig, 2004. "Average and marginal effective tax rates facing workers in the EU: a micro-level analysis of levels, distributions and driving factors (revised version of EM2/02)," EUROMOD Working Papers EM6/04, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    9. Bea Cantillon & Karel van den Bosch & Ive Marx, 2002. "The Puzzle of Egalitarianism: About the Relationships between Employment, Wage Inequality, Social Expenditures and Poverty," LIS Working papers 337, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access

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