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A Microsimulation Approach to an Optimal Swedish Income Tax

  • Ericson, Peter


  • Flood, Lennart


    (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

This paper follows the theory of optimal taxation and the goal is to identify a tax/benefit design that maximizes social welfare. A two stage process is proposed where the individuals preferred choice of leisure and consumption is solved in the first stage, and the second stage identifies the tax/benefit system that maximize the social welfare function. Our study deviates from the mainstream literature as the first stage is based on a static micro simulation model with behavioral responses. The behavioralresponses take two different forms and use two different types of models; first binary models that describe mobility in/out from non-work states such as old age pension, disability, unemployment, long term sickness, and second models that describe change in working hours and welfare participation. Compared to the current Swedish income tax, our results suggests that increased basic deduction and in-work tax credit in combination with a reduction of the progressive national taxes would increase welfare. We also find strong support for increased housing allowances. The reforms are financed by a tax based on the same tax base as the proportional municipal income tax.

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Paper provided by University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 375.

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Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: 25 Aug 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0375
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Box 640, SE 405 30 GÖTEBORG, Sweden
Phone: 031-773 10 00
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  1. Richard Blundell & Andrew Shephard, 2012. "Employment, Hours of Work and the Optimal Taxation of Low-Income Families," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 481-510.
  2. repec:oup:restud:v:78:y::i:4:p:1490-1518 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Joel Slemrod, 1989. "Optimal Taxation and Optimal Tax Systems," NBER Working Papers 3038, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Aaberge, Rolf & Flood, Lennart, 2008. "Evaluation of an In-work Tax Credit Reform in Sweden: Effects on Labor Supply and Welfare Participation of Single Mothers," Working Papers in Economics 319, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  5. Flood, Lennart & Pylkkänen, Elina & Wahlberg, Roger, 2003. "From Welfare to Work: Evaluating a Proposed Tax and Benefit Reform Targeted at Single Mothers in Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 891, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2005. "Simple solutions to the initial conditions problem in dynamic, nonlinear panel data models with unobserved heterogeneity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(1), pages 39-54.
  7. Ericson, Peter & Flood, Lennart & Wahlberg, Roger, 2009. "SWEtaxben: A Swedish Tax/Benefit Micro Simulation Model and an Evaluation of a Swedish Tax Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 4106, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Arthur van Soest, 1995. "Structural Models of Family Labor Supply: A Discrete Choice Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 63-88.
  9. François Bourguignon & Amedeo Spadaro, 2006. "Microsimulation as a tool for evaluating redistribution policies," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 77-106, April.
  10. Vermeulen, Frederic, 2002. " Collective Household Models: Principles and Main Results," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(4), pages 533-64, September.
  11. Rolf Aaberge, 2000. "Characterizations of Lorenz curves and income distributions," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 639-653.
  12. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive Versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073, August.
  13. Flood, Lennart & Hansen, Jörgen & Wahlberg, Roger, 2003. "Household Labor Supply and Welfare Participation in Sweden," IZA Discussion Papers 769, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Seade, J. K., 1977. "On the shape of optimal tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 203-235, April.
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