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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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File URL: http://www.esri.ie/UserFiles/publications/20070711094151/WP197.pdf
File Function: First version, 2007
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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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  12. Jakobsson, Ulf, 1976. "On the measurement of the degree of progression," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1-2), pages 161-168.
  13. 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.
  14. Lerman, Robert I & Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1985. "Income Inequality Effects by Income," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 151-56, February.
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  21. 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.
  22. Sheldon Danziger, 1980. "Do Working Wives Increase Family Income Inequality?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 15(3), pages 444-451.
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  24. 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.
  25. Frédéric CHANTREUIL & Alain TRANNOY, 2011. "Inequality Decomposition Values," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 101-102, pages 13-36.
  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.
  27. Jenkins, Stephen P, 1995. "Accounting for Inequality Trends: Decomposition Analyses for the UK, 1971-86," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 62(245), pages 29-63, February.
  28. 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.
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