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

  • 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 - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC))

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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Date of creation: Nov 2009
Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00575059
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  1. Claude d’Aspremont & Rodolphe Dos Santos Ferreira, 2009. "Household behavior and individual autonomy," Working Papers of BETA 2009-17, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
  2. Rees, Ray, 1988. "Taxation and the Household," Munich Reprints in Economics 3411, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  3. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00586236 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Kleven, Henrik & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup & Saez, Emmanuel, 2006. "The Optimal Income Taxation of Couples," CEPR Discussion Papers 5978, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. 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.
  8. Pierre Pestieau & Motohiro Sato, 2008. "Long-Term Care: the State, the Market and the Family," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(299), pages 435-454, 08.
  9. 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.
  10. Apps, Patricia & Rees, Ray, 2007. "The Taxation of Couples," IZA Discussion Papers 2910, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Marie-Louise Leroux & Pierre Pestieau & Grégory Ponthiere, 2009. "Should we Subsidize Longevity?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2614, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. JOUSTEN, Alain & LIPSZYC, Barbara & MARCHAND, Maurice & PESTIEAU, Pierre, . "Long-term care insurance and optimal taxation for altruistic children," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1753, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  13. Antoine Bommier & Marie-Louise Leroux & Jean-Marie Lozachmeur, 2010. "On the Public Economics of Annuities with Differential Mortality," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 10/135, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  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. repec:pse:psecon:2008-46 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. 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).
  18. Marie-Louise Leroux & Gregory Ponthiere, 2009. "Optimal tax policy and expected longevity: a mean and variance utility approach," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 16(4), pages 514-537, August.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Apps, Patricia F. & Rees, Ray, 1988. "Taxation and the household," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 355-369, April.
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