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Behavioural and welfare effects of basic income policies: a simulation for European countries

  • Colombino, Ugo
  • Locatelli, Marilena
  • Narazani, Edlira
  • O'Donoghue, Cathal
  • Shima, Isilda

We develop and estimate a microeconometric model of household labour supply in four European countries representative of different economies and welfare policy regimes: Denmark, Italy, Portugal and United Kingdom. We then simulate, under the constraint of constant total net tax revenue, the effects of 10 hypothetical tax-transfer reforms which include various alternative versions of a Basic Income policy. We produce various indexes and criteria according to which the reforms can be ranked. The exercise can be considered as one of empirical optimal taxation, where the optimization problem is solved computationally rather than analytically. As long as the ranking of reforms is done according to welfaristic criteria it turns out that the most successful policies are those involving non means-tested versions of basic income and adopting progressive tax-rules. When other criteria (such as the implied top marginal tax rate or the effect on female labour supply) are also taken into account, the picture changes: universalistic policies remain optimal and feasible in countries like Denmark where female participation rates are very high; instead, in countries with low female participation rates (like Italy) universalistic policies appear to be too costly in terms of implied top marginal tax rates and in terms of adverse effects on female participation, and meanstested policies such as Work-Fare or Negative Income Tax seem more desirable.

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File URL: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/research/publications/working-papers/euromod/em5-08.pdf
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Paper provided by EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series EUROMOD Working Papers with number EM5/08.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2008
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Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:emodwp:em5-08
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  1. Rolf Aaberge & Ugo Colombino & Steinar Strøm & Tom Wennemo, 2005. "Joint Labour Supply of Married Couples: Efficiency and Distribution Effects of Tax and Labour Market Reforms," Labor and Demography 0501004, EconWPA.
  2. Roed,K. & Strom,S., 1999. "Progressive taxes and the labour market : is the trade-off between equality and efficiency inevitable?," Memorandum 19/1999, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  3. Tuomala, Matti, 1990. "Optimal Income Tax and Redistribution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198286059, March.
  4. Fortin, Bernard & Truchon, Michel & Beausejour, Louis, 1993. "On reforming the welfare system : Workfare meets the negative income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 119-151, June.
  5. Bourguignon, F. & O'Donoghue, C. & Sastre-Descals, J. & Spadaro, A. & Utili, F., 1997. "Eur 3: A Prototype European Tax-Benefit Model," DELTA Working Papers 97-30, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  6. Rolf Aaberge & Ugo Colombino, 2006. "Designing Optimal Taxes with a Microeconometric Model of Household Labour Supply," ICER Working Papers 37-2006, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  7. 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.
  8. François Bourguignon & Amedeo Spadaro, 2006. "Microsimulation as a Tool for Evaluating Redistribution Policies," Working Papers 20, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  9. Rolf Aaberge & Ugo Colombino & Tom Wennemo, 2006. "Evaluating Alternative Representations of the Choice Sets in Models of Labour Supply," Discussion Papers 449, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  10. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521296762 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Immervoll, Herwig & Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup & Saez, Emmanuel, 2004. "Welfare reform in European countries: a micro-simulation analysis," EUROMOD Working Papers EM1/04, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  12. Colombino, Ugo, 1998. "Evaluating the effects of new telephone tariffs on residential users' demand and welfare. A model for Italy," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 283-303, September.
  13. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521556972 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Rolf Aaberge, 2006. "Gini’s Nuclear Family," Discussion Papers 491, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  15. John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb, 2005. "Discrete Hours Labour Supply Modelling: Specification, Estimation and Simulation," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(5), pages 697-734, December.
  16. Ricardo Varsano & Kevin Kim & Michael Keen, 2006. "The "Flat Tax(es)"; Principles and Evidence," IMF Working Papers 06/218, International Monetary Fund.
  17. Aaberge, Rolf & Dagsvik, John K & Strom, Steinar, 1995. " Labor Supply Responses and Welfare Effects of Tax Reforms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 635-59, December.
  18. James Meade., . "Agathotopia," Hume Papers 16, David Hume Institute.
  19. Thomas MaCurdy & David Green & Harry Paarsch, 1990. "Assessing Empirical Approaches for Analyzing Taxes and Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 415-490.
  20. Arthur van Soest, 1995. "Structural Models of Family Labor Supply: A Discrete Choice Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 63-88.
  21. Aaberge, Rolf & Colombino, Ugo & Strom, Steinar, 1999. "Labour Supply in Italy: An Empirical Analysis of Joint Household Decisions, with Taxes and Quantity Constraints," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(4), pages 403-22, July-Aug..
  22. Duncan, Alan & Giles, Christopher, 1996. "Labour Supply Incentives and Recent Family Credit Reforms," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(434), pages 142-55, January.
  23. Aaberge, Rolf & Colombino, Ugo & Strøm, Steinar, 2003. "Do More Equal Slices Shrink the Cake? An Empirical Investigation of Tax-Transfer Reform Proposals in Italy," Memorandum 37/2003, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  24. Ugo Colombino & Steinar Strøm & Rolf Aaberge, 2000. "Labor supply responses and welfare effects from replacing current tax rules by a flat tax: Empirical evidence from Italy, Norway and Sweden," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 595-621.
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