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Wives, husbands and wheelchairs: Optimal tax policy under gender-specific health

Listed author(s):
  • Marie-Louise Leroux

    (CORE - Center of Operation Research and Econometrics [Louvain] - UCL - Université Catholique de Louvain)

  • Grégory Ponthière

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

We study the optimal taxation problem in an economy composed of two-person households (men and women), where agents influence their own old-age dependency prospects through health spending. It is shown that the utilitarian social optimum can be decentralized by means of lump sum transfers from men to women, because women exhibit a higher disability-free life expectancy than men for a given level of health spending. Once self-oriented concerns for coexistence are introduced, the decentralization of the first-best requires also gender-specific subsidies on health spending aimed at internalizing the effect of each agent's health on the spouse's welfare. In the presence of singles in the population, the optimal policy requires also a differentiated subsidization of health spending for singles and couples. Finally, under imperfect observability of couples, the incentive compatibility constraints reinforce the need for subsidization of health spendings.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00575059.

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Date of creation: Nov 2009
Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00575059
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00575059
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  1. d’ASPREMONT, Claude & DOS SANTOS FERREIRA, Rodolphe, 2009. "Household behavior and individual autonomy," CORE Discussion Papers 2009022, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2007. "The Taxation of Couples," Discussion Papers 07/21, Department of Economics, University of York.
  3. Bommier, Antoine & Leroux, Marie-Louise & Lozachmeur, Jean-Marie, 2011. "On the public economics of annuities with differential mortality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 612-623.
  4. Marie-Louise Leroux & Pierre Pestieau & Grégory Ponthière, 2008. "Should we subsidize longevity?," PSE Working Papers halshs-00586236, HAL.
  5. LEROUX, Marie-Louise & PONTHIERE, Gregory, "undated". "Optimal tax policy and expected longevity: a mean and variance utility approach," CORE Discussion Papers RP 2158, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  6. Alain Jousten & Barbara Lipszyc & Maurice Marchand & Pierre Pestieau, 2005. "Long-term Care Insurance and Optimal Taxation for Altruistic Children," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 61(1), pages 1-1, March.
  7. Rees, Ray, 1988. "Taxation and the Household," Munich Reprints in Economics 3411, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  8. Apps, Patricia F. & Rees, Ray, 1988. "Taxation and the household," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 355-369, April.
  9. Richard Blundell & Martin Browning & Costas Meghir, 1993. "Consumer demand and the life-cycle allocation of household expenditures," IFS Working Papers W93/11, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. Boskin, Michael J. & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1983. "Optimal tax treatment of the family: Married couples," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 281-297, April.
  11. Gregory Ponthiere, 2007. "Measuring longevity achievements under welfare interdependencies: a case for joint life expectancy indicators," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 84(2), pages 203-230, November.
  12. Nils Braakmann, 2009. "Other-regarding preferences, spousal disability and happiness: Evidence from German couples," Working Paper Series in Economics 130, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
  13. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Emmanuel Saez, 2006. "The Optimal Income Taxation of Couples," NBER Working Papers 12685, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. CREMER, Helmuth & LOZACHMEUR, Jean-Marie & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 2007. "Income taxation of couples and the tax unit choice," CORE Discussion Papers 2007013, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  15. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Bernard M.S. van Praag, 2002. "The subjective costs of health losses due to chronic diseases. An alternative model for monetary appraisal," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(8), pages 709-722.
  16. PESTIEAU, Pierre & SATO, Motohiro, 2004. "Long term care: the state, the market and the family," CORE Discussion Papers 2004082, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  17. Duée, Michel & Rebillard, Cyril & Pennec, Sophie, 2005. "Les personnes dépendantes en France : Evolution et prise en charge
    [Old-age disability in France: Long-term evolution, private caregiving and public expenditure]
    ," MPRA Paper 69877, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  18. LEROUX, Marie-Louise & PONTHIERE, Grégory, 2008. "Optimal tax policy and expected longevity: a mean and variance approach," CORE Discussion Papers 2008039, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  19. Marie-Louise Leroux & Pierre Pestieau & Grégory Ponthière, 2008. "Should we subsidize longevity?," Working Papers halshs-00586236, HAL.
  20. Patricia F. Apps & Ray Rees, 1999. "Individual versus Joint Taxation in Models with Household Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 393-403, April.
  21. repec:pse:psecon:2008-46 is not listed on IDEAS
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