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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/pubs/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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  1. 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.
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  3. Marja Riihelä & Risto Sullström & Ilpo Suoniemi & Matti Tuomala, 2001. "Recent Trends in Income Inequality in Finland," Working Papers 0106, University of Tampere, School of Management, Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Amadéo Spadaro & François Bourguignon, 2006. "Microsimulation as a Tool for Evaluating Redistribution Policies," Post-Print halshs-00754162, HAL.
  6. 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.
  7. Olivier Bargain & Kristian Orsini, 2004. "In-work policies in Europe: killing two birds with one stone?," DELTA Working Papers 2004-13, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  8. Callan, Tim & van Soest, Arthur & Walsh, John R., 2007. "Tax Structure and Female Labour Market Participation: Evidence from Ireland," IZA Discussion Papers 3090, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Jenkins, Stephen P. & Van Kerm, Philippe, 2004. "Accounting for income distribution trends: A density function decomposition approach," IRISS Working Paper Series 2004-07, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
  10. John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb & Rosanna Scutella, 2006. "Income distribution in discrete hours behavioural microsimulation models: An illustration," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 4(1), pages 57-76, April.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Atkinson, Tony & Cantillon, Bea & Marlier, Eric & Nolan, Brian, 2002. "Social Indicators: The EU and Social Inclusion," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199253494, December.
  15. Immervoll, Herwig & Levy, Horacio & Lietz, Christine & Mantovani, Daniela & O'Donoghue, Cathal & Sutherland, Holly & Verbist, Gerlinde, 2006. "Household Incomes and Redistribution in the European Union: Quantifying the Equalising Properties of Taxes and Benefits," Economics Series 184, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  16. Dardanoni, Valentino & Lambert, Peter J., 2002. "Progressivity comparisons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 99-122, October.
  17. Stanislav Kolenikov & Anthony Shorrocks, 2005. "A Decomposition Analysis of Regional Poverty in Russia," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 9(1), pages 25-46, 02.
  18. 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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  20. Shorrocks, A F, 1982. "Inequality Decomposition by Factor Components," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 193-211, January.
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  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Milanovic, Branko, 1994. "Income Tax Progression and Redistributive Effect: The Influence of Changes in the Pre-tax Income Distribution: Comment," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 49(1), pages 126-33.
  26. Isabelle Terraz & Olivier Bargain, 2003. "Évaluation et mise en perspective des effets incitatifs et redistributifs de la Prime pour l’emploi," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 160(4), pages 121-147.
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  29. repec:adr:anecst:y:2011:i:101-102:p:02 is not listed on IDEAS
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