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

Author

Listed:
  • Marie-Louise Leroux

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

  • Grégory Ponthière

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - 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)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Marie-Louise Leroux & Grégory Ponthière, 2009. "Wives, husbands and wheelchairs: Optimal tax policy under gender-specific health," PSE Working Papers halshs-00575059, HAL.
  • 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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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Long term care; optimal taxation; preventive health spending; gender differentials; old age dependency; dépendance; taxation optimale; dépenses de santé préventives; différentiels hommes femmes; autonomie des personnes âgées;

    JEL classification:

    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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