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Measuring Progressivity and Inequality

  • Duclos, J.Y.

A general class of progressivity indices is proposed which is consistent with the well-developed theory of the measurement of inequality and social welfare. In particular, we show that the more progressive a tax system, the more equal the distribution of net income and the greater the progressivity index. For an additive social welfare function and a progressive tax system, the greater the degree of relative inequality aversion, the greater the progressivity index. We also discuss the link between inequality of gross income and tax progressivity. A by-product is the derivation of a general class of inequality measures that are invariant to equi-proportionate changes in incomes. We illustrate the analysis using the British tax and benefit system.

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Paper provided by Laval - Recherche en Politique Economique in its series Papers with number 9525.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 1995
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:lavape:9525
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  1. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1978. "Measures of relative equality and their meaning in terms of social welfare," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 59-80, June.
  2. Yitzhaki, Shlomo, 1983. "On an Extension of the Gini Inequality Index," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(3), pages 617-28, October.
  3. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  4. Mehran, Farhad, 1976. "Linear Measures of Income Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(4), pages 805-09, July.
  5. Duclos, Jean-Yves, 1995. "Assessing the Performance of an Income Tax," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(2), pages 115-26, April.
  6. Kolm, Serge-Christophe, 1976. "Unequal inequalities. II," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 82-111, August.
  7. G.B. Hainsworth, 1964. "The Lorenz Curve As A General Tool Of Economic Analysis," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 40(91), pages 426-441, 09.
  8. Dasgupta, Partha & Sen, Amartya & Starrett, David, 1973. "Notes on the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 180-187, April.
  9. Jakobsson, Ulf, 1976. "On the measurement of the degree of progression," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1-2), pages 161-168.
  10. Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A., 1980. "A single-parameter generalization of the Gini indices of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 67-86, February.
  11. Fellman, J, 1976. "The Effect of Transformations on Lorenz Curves," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(4), pages 823-24, July.
  12. Charles Blackorby & David Donaldson, 1984. "Ethical Social Index Numbers and the Measurement of Effective Tax-Benefit Progressivity," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 17(4), pages 683-94, November.
  13. R. A. Musgrave & Tun Thin, 1948. "Income Tax Progression, 1929-48," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 498.
  14. Suits, Daniel B, 1977. "Measurement of Tax Progressivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 747-52, September.
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