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Would you civil union me? Civil unions and taxes in France: Did the reform of income taxation raise the rate of civil unions?

  • Marion Leturcq

    (CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - INSEE - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics)

This paper looks whether the choice to contract a civil union is motivated by fiscal reasons. Since 1999, in France, different-sex couples can contract either a marriage or a civil union, called a pacs. It is a new legal form of union, more flexible than marriage. The pacs turned to be successful, 30% of new unions in 2007 were pacs. In 2005, the income taxation of pacsed partners changed to benefit more to pacsed couples. This paper investigates the link between the reform of the income taxation and the growing number of pacs by analyzing the impact that should be observed if couples answer was the optimal one. It shows that about 38% of the newly contracted pacs since 2005 can be attributed to the reform. This tends to show that the choice to contract a pacs is determined by short-term views. Then it questions the link between marriage and civil union, the pacs could be either thought as a substitute or a complementary to the marriage.

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Date of creation: May 2009
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00566846
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  1. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2007. "Marriage and divorce: changes and their driving forces," Working Paper Series 2007-03, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  2. Hector Chade & Gustavo Ventura, 2005. "Income Taxation and Marital Decisions," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(3), pages 565-599, Juky.
  3. Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Did Unilateral Divorce Laws Raise Divorce Rates? A Reconciliation and New Results," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1802-1820, December.
  4. François Legendre & Florence Thibault, 2007. "Les concubins et l’impôt sur le revenu en France," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 401(1), pages 3-21.
  5. Alm, James & Whittington, Leslie A., 1996. "The Rise and Fall and Rise ... of the Marriage Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(4), pages 571-89, December.
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  8. Mircea Trandafir, 2014. "The Effect of Same-Sex Marriage Laws on Different-Sex Marriage: Evidence From the Netherlands," Demography, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 317-340, February.
  9. Leturcq, Marion, 2012. "Will you civil union me? Taxation and civil unions in France," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(5), pages 541-552.
  10. Leora Friedberg, 1998. "Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data," NBER Working Papers 6398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Michael J. Brien & Lee A. Lillard & Steven Stern, 2006. "Cohabitation, Marriage, And Divorce In A Model Of Match Quality," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(2), pages 451-494, 05.
  12. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1.
  13. Christophe Hurlin & Valérie Mignon, 2005. "Une synthèse des tests de racine unitaire sur données de panel," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 169(3), pages 253-294.
  14. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Marriage: Part II," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 11-26 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Niko Matouschek & Imran Rasul, 2008. "The Economics of the Marriage Contract: Theories and Evidence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(1), pages 59-110, 02.
  16. Alm, James & Whittington, Leslie A., 1997. "Income taxes and the timing of marital decisions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 219-240, May.
  17. Sophie Guérin & Élise Amar, 2007. "Se marier ou non : le droit fiscal peut-il aider à choisir ?," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 401(1), pages 23-37.
  18. Steffen Reinhold, Ph.D., 2009. "Reassessing the Link between Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Instability," MEA discussion paper series 09178, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  19. Alm, James & Whittington, Leslie A, 1999. "For Love or Money? The Impact of Income Taxes on Marriage," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(263), pages 297-316, August.
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