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Welfare effects of alternative financing of social security. Some calculations for Belgium


  • Bart Capéau
  • André De coster
  • Kris De Swerdt
  • Kristian Orsini


We analyse the distributional impact of lowering social security contributions and compensating the revenue loss by an increase in indirect taxes. We empirically assess the distributional consequences of this shift by using two Belgian microsimulation models: MODÉTÉ for the tax benefit system, and aster for the indirect tax part. Since the underlying micro database of the tax benefit system does not contain expenditures, we first impute detailed expenditures in the income data survey, by means of semiparametric Engelcurves. The currently living generation of pensioners belongs to the losers by such a reform: They do not profit from the reduced tax on labour income, but pay higher consumption prices. Less obvious, also part of the working population loses. Even not all those who leave unemployment after the reform are gainers. We also investigate the sensitivity of the results w.r.t. the choice of welfare measure to assess the combined change in disposable income, consumer prices and - in the case of flexible labour supply - leisure. We show how the specific choice and parameters of the welfare measure will influence the conclusions, possibly even more than the predictive model for assessing the behavioural reactions in labour supply.

Suggested Citation

  • Bart Capéau & André De coster & Kris De Swerdt & Kristian Orsini, 2008. "Welfare effects of alternative financing of social security. Some calculations for Belgium," Working Papers of Department of Economics, Leuven ces0812, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB), Department of Economics, Leuven.
  • Handle: RePEc:ete:ceswps:ces0812

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    Cited by:

    1. Olivier Bargain, 2012. "Decomposition analysis of distributive policies using behavioural simulations," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(5), pages 708-731, October.

    More about this item


    microsimulation; social security contributions; demand system; indirect taxes; labour supply;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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