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Tax-Benefit Revealed Social Preferences in Europe and the US

Author

Listed:
  • Olivier Bargain

    (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor, CEPS/INSTEAD - Centre d'Etudes de Populations, de Pauvreté et de Politiques Socio-Economiques / International Networks for Studies in Technology, Environment, Alternatives, Development - Centre d'Etudes de Populations, de Pauvreté et de Politiques Socio-Economiques / International Networks for Studies in Technology, Environment, Alternatives, Development)

  • Mathias Dolls

    (IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor, University of Cologne - University of Cologne)

  • Dirk Neumann

    (IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor, University of Cologne - University of Cologne)

  • Andreas Peichl

    (IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor, University of Cologne - University of Cologne, CESifo - CESifo, ISER - University of Essex)

  • Sebastian Siegloch

    (IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor, University of Cologne - University of Cologne)

Abstract

We follow the inverted optimal tax approach to characterize and compare "tax-benefit revealed" social preferences in 17 EU countries and the US. Following Bargain et al. [2013], we invert the optimal income taxation model on the distributions of net and gross incomes and use labor supply elasticities consistently estimated on the same data. The present paper focuses on new outputs of particular interest for the current policy debate on in-work versus traditional social transfers. Results are as follows: We find that revealed marginal social welfare functions verify minimal consistency checks and, notably, respect Paretianity overall. An exception is due to the treatment of the working poor in countries with standard, demogrant transfers. We illustrate for some countries how the recent policy trend in Continental and Nordic Europe tends to correct this "anomaly" through redistributive reforms in favor of the working poor. Finally, we compare revealed and stated social preferences using direct survey information and suggest explanations for the apparent discrepancies. JEL: H11, H21, D63, C63.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier Bargain & Mathias Dolls & Dirk Neumann & Andreas Peichl & Sebastian Siegloch, 2014. "Tax-Benefit Revealed Social Preferences in Europe and the US," Post-Print hal-01474440, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01474440
    DOI: 10.15609/annaeconstat2009
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-amu.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01474440
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    Cited by:

    1. Spencer Bastani & Jacob Lundberg, 2016. "Political Preferences for Redistribution in Sweden," CESifo Working Paper Series 6205, CESifo.
    2. Olivier Bargain, 2018. "Introduction – Socio-Fiscal Incentives to Work: Taking Stock and New Research," Economie et Statistique / Economics and Statistics, Institut National de la Statistique et des Études Économiques (INSEE), issue 503-504, pages 5-12.
    3. Lockwood, Benjamin B. & Weinzierl, Matthew, 2016. "Positive and normative judgments implicit in U.S. tax policy, and the costs of unequal growth and recessions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 30-47.
    4. Jacobs, Bas & Jongen, Egbert L.W. & Zoutman, Floris T., 2017. "Revealed social preferences of Dutch political parties," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 81-100.
    5. Spencer Bastani & Jacob Lundberg, 2017. "Political preferences for redistribution in Sweden," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 15(4), pages 345-367, December.
    6. Michaël Sicsic, 2020. "Does Labor Income React more to Income Tax or Means-Tested Benefit Reforms?," TEPP Working Paper 2020-03, TEPP.
    7. Johannes Hermle & Andreas Peichl, 2018. "Jointly Optimal Taxes for Different Types of Income," CESifo Working Paper Series 7248, CESifo.
    8. Hartwick, John M. & Long, Ngo Van, 2018. "Sustainability with endogenous discounting when utility depends on consumption and amenities," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 31-36.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economie quantitative;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques

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