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Analysing the Effects of Tax-benefit Reforms on Income Distribution: A decomposition Approach

  • Olivier Bargain

    (University College Dublin (UCD))

  • Tim Callan

    (Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI))

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 Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in its series Papers with number WP197.

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Length: 15 pages
Date of creation: May 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esr:wpaper:wp197
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  8. 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.
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  22. 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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  25. Tom Clark & Andrew Leicester, 2004. "Inequality and two decades of British tax and benefit reform," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 25(2), pages 129-158, June.
  26. Herwig Immervoll & Horacio Levy & Christine Lietz & Daniela Mantovani & Holly Sutherland, 2006. "The sensitivity of poverty rates to macro-level changes in the European Union," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(2), pages 181-199, March.
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