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Introducing Family Tax Splitting in Germany: How Would It Affect the Income Distribution and Work Incentives?


  • Steiner, Viktor

    () (Free University of Berlin)

  • Wrohlich, Katharina

    () (DIW Berlin)


We analyze the effects of three alternative proposals to reform the taxation of families relative to the current German system of joint taxation of couples and child allowances: a French-type family splitting and two full family splitting proposals. The empirical analysis of the effects of these proposals on the income distribution and on work incentives is based on a behavioral micro-simulation model which integrates an empirical household labor supply model into a detailed tax-benefit model based on the German Socio Economic Panel. Our simulation results show that under each reform the lion’s share of the reduction in taxes would accrue to families with children in the upper part of the income distribution, and that expected labor supply effects are small for all analyzed family tax splitting reforms, both in absolute terms and relative to the implied fiscal costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Steiner, Viktor & Wrohlich, Katharina, 2006. "Introducing Family Tax Splitting in Germany: How Would It Affect the Income Distribution and Work Incentives?," IZA Discussion Papers 2245, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2245

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Baclet, Alexandre & Dell, Fabien & Wrohlich, Katharina, 2005. "Income Taxation and Household Size: Would French Family Splitting Make German Families Better Off?," IZA Discussion Papers 1894, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Apps, Patricia & Rees, Ray, 2007. "The Taxation of Couples," IZA Discussion Papers 2910, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Laisney, François & Beninger, Denis & Beblo, Miriam, 2003. "Family Tax Splitting: A Microsimulation of its Potential Labour Supply and Intra-household Welfare Effects in Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 03-32, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    4. Viktor Steiner & Katharina Wrohlich, 2004. "Household Taxation, Income Splitting and Labor Supply Incentives – A Microsimulation Study for Germany," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 50(3), pages 541-568.
    5. Creedy, J. & Duncan, A., 1999. "Welfare, Non-Linear Busget Constraints and Behavioural Microsimulation," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 688, The University of Melbourne.
    6. Paul Bernd Spahn & Helmut Kaiser & Thomas Kassella, 1992. "The tax dilemma of married women in Germany," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 13(2), pages 22-47, May.
    7. Viktor Steiner & Peter Haan & Katharina Wrohlich, 2005. "Dokumentation des Steuer-Transfer-Mikrosimulationsmodells STSM 1999 - 2002," Data Documentation 9, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    8. Matthias Wrede, 2003. "The Income Splitting Method: Is it Good for Both Marriage Partners?," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 4(2), pages 203-216, May.
    9. Homburg, Stefan, 2000. "Das einkommensteuerliche Ehegattensplitting," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 261-268.
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    Cited by:

    1. Spiess, C.Katharina & Wrohlich, Katharina, 2008. "The Parental Leave Benefit Reform in Germany: Costs and Labour Market Outcomes of Moving towards the Nordic Model," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 575-591.
    2. Callan, Tim & van Soest, Arthur & Walsh, John R., 2007. "Tax Structure and Female Labour Market Participation: Evidence from Ireland," IZA Discussion Papers 3090, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Bergs Christian & Schaefer Thilo & Fuest Clemens & Peichl Andreas, 2007. "Reformoptionen der Familienbesteuerung: Aufkommens-, Verteilungs- und Arbeitsangebotseffekte," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 58(1), pages 1-27, April.
    4. Denis Beninger & Holger Bonin & Julia Horstschräer & Grit Mühler, 2010. "Wirkungen eines Betreuungsgeldes bei bedarfsgerechtem Ausbau frühkindlicher Kindertagesbetreuung: eine Mikrosimulationsstudie," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 79(3), pages 147-168.
    5. Helene Dearing & Helmut Hofer & Christine Lietz & Rudolf Winter-Ebmer & Katharina Wrohlich, 2007. "Why Are Mothers Working Longer Hours in Austria than in Germany? A Comparative Microsimulation Analysis," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 28(4), pages 463-495, December.
    6. Spiess, C. Katharina & Wrohlich, Katharina, 2006. "The Parental Leave Benefit Reform in Germany: Costs and Labour Market Outcomes of Moving towards the Scandinavian Model," IZA Discussion Papers 2372, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Wrohlich, Katharina, 2006. "Labor Supply and Child Care Choices in a Rationed Child Care Market," IZA Discussion Papers 2053, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Fabien Dell & Katharina Wrohlich, 2006. "Income Taxation and its Family Components in France," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 4(4), pages 50-54, 02.
    9. Fritzsche, Bernd & Haisken-DeNew, John & Kambeck, Rainer & Siemers, Lars-H. R. & Bergs, Christian & Fuest, Clemens & Peichl, Andreas & Schaefer, Thilo & Thöne, Michael, 2007. "Der Zusammenhang zwischen Steuerlast- und Einkommensverteilung: Forschungsprojekt für das Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales. Endbericht - Dezember 2007," RWI Projektberichte, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, number 70874.

    More about this item


    work incentives; household taxation; income distribution; microsimulation;

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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