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Analysing the effects of tax-benefit reforms on income distribution: a decomposition approach

  • Bargain, Olivier
  • Callan, Tim

To assess the impact of tax-benefit policy changes on income distribution over time, we suggest a decomposition methodology based on counterfactual simulations. First, it provides an absolute measure of the impact of tax-benefit changes on inequality, which combines changes in policy structure (rules, rates, etc.) and changes in monetary parameters (benefit amounts, tax bands, etc.) against a distributionally-neutral benchmark, i.e., a situation where monetary parameters are nominally adjusted in line with income growth. We apply this measure to analyze the effect of recent policy changes in twelve European countries. Secondly, we focus on France and Ireland to assess the relative role of policy changes compared to changes in pre-tax income (distribution, composition, demographic structure, etc.). We conduct this exercise for a battery of poverty and inequality measures and check the sensitivity of the results to the decomposition order.

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Paper provided by EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series EUROMOD Working Papers with number EM5/07.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2007
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Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:emodwp:em5-07
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  14. Sutherland, Holly, 2001. "EUROMOD: an integrated European benefit-tax model: final report," EUROMOD Working Papers EM9/01, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  15. Immervoll, Herwig & Levy, Horacio & Lietz, Christine & Mantovani, Daniela & O'Donoghue, Cathal & Sutherland, Holly & Verbist, Gerlinde, 2005. "Household Incomes and Redistribution in the European Union: Quantifying the Equalising Properties of Taxes and Benefits," IZA Discussion Papers 1824, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Kolenikov, Stanislav & Shorrocks, Anthony, 2003. "A Decomposition Analysis of Regional Poverty in Russia," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  17. Callan, Tim & Walsh, John, 2006. "Assessing the impact of tax/transfer policy changes on poverty: methodological issues and some European evidence," EUROMOD Working Papers EM1/06, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  18. Olivier Bargain, 2004. "Aides au retour à l'emploi et activité des femmes en couple," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 88(1), pages 59-87.
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  21. François Bourguignon & Amedeo Spadaro, 2006. "Microsimulation as a tool for evaluating redistribution policies," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 77-106, April.
  22. Shorrocks, A F, 1982. "Inequality Decomposition by Factor Components," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 193-211, January.
  23. Atkinson, A.B., 2005. "EUROMOD and the development of EU social policy," EUROMOD Working Papers EM1/05, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  24. Mantovani, Daniela & Sutherland, Holly, 2003. "Social indicators and other income statistics using the EUROMOD baseline: a comparison with Eurostat and National Statistics," EUROMOD Working Papers EM1/03, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  25. Immervoll, Herwig, 2004. "Falling up the stairs: an exploration of the effects of 'bracket creep' on household incomes," EUROMOD Working Papers EM3/04, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  26. Brian Nolan & Bertrand Maitre, 2000. "A Comparative Perspective on Trends in Income Inequality in Ireland," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 31(4), pages 329-350.
  27. Atkinson, Tony & Cantillon, Bea & Marlier, Eric & Nolan, Brian, 2002. "Social Indicators: The EU and Social Inclusion," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199253494.
  28. John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb & Rosanna Scutella, 2006. "Income distribution in discrete hours behavioural microsimulation models: An illustration," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 57-76, April.
  29. Dardanoni, Valentino & Lambert, Peter J., 2002. "Progressivity comparisons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 99-122, October.
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