IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Shifting Taxes from Labor to Consumption: Efficient, but Regressive?

  • Pestel, Nico



  • Sommer, Eric



Shifting taxes from labor income to consumption is regularly suggested as a measure to induce work incentives. We investigate the effect of increases in the Value Added Tax on labor supply and the income distribution in Germany, which is compensated by a revenue-neutral reduction in income-related taxes. Based on a dual data base and a microsimulation model of labor supply behavior, we confirm a general regressive impact of such a tax shift in the short run. When accounting for labor supply adjustments, the adverse distributional impact persists for personal income tax reductions, while the overall effects on inequality and progressivity become substantially lower when payroll taxes are reduced, which is due to increased work incentives, especially for low-income households.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7804.

in new window

Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7804
Contact details of provider: Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page:

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production: I--Production Efficiency," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(1), pages 8-27, March.
  2. Naito, Hisahiro, 1999. "Re-examination of uniform commodity taxes under a non-linear income tax system and its implication for production efficiency," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 165-188, February.
  3. Alastair Thomas & Fidel Picos-Sánchez, 2012. "Shifting from Social Security Contributions to Consumption Taxes: The Impact on Low-Income Earner Work Incentives," OECD Taxation Working Papers 11, OECD Publishing.
  4. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez & Violeta Vulovic & Yongzheng Liu, 2010. "Direct versus Indirect Taxation: Trends, Theory and Economic Significance," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1014, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  5. Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 1996. "Welfare Transfers in Two-Parent Families: Labor Supply and Welfare Participation under AFDC-UP," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 295-332, March.
  6. Saez, Emmanuel & Matsaganis, Manos & Tsakloglou, Panos, 2010. "Earnings Determination and Taxes: Evidence from a Cohort Based Payroll Tax Reform in Greece," IZA Discussion Papers 4752, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
  8. CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU , Pierre & ROCHET, Jean-Charles, . "Direct versus indirect taxation: the design of the tax structure revisited," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1528, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  9. Buscher, Herbert S. & Buslei, Hermann & Göggelmann, Klaus & Koschel, Henrike & Ramb, Fred & Schmidt, Tobias F. N. & Steiner, Viktor & Winker, Peter, 1998. "Empirical macromodels under test: a comparative simulation study of the employment effects of a revenue neutral cut in social security contributions," ZEW Discussion Papers 98-40, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  10. Alan J. Auerbach, 1982. "The Theory of Excess Burden and Optimal Taxation," NBER Working Papers 1025, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. 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.
  12. Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The desirability of commodity taxation under non-linear income taxation and heterogeneous tastes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 217-230, February.
  13. Cathal O'Donoghue & Massimo Baldini, 2004. "Modelling the Redistributive Impact of Indirect Taxes in Europe: An Application of EUROMOD," Working Papers 0077, National University of Ireland Galway, Department of Economics, revised 2004.
  14. Olivier Bargain & Kristian Orsini & Andreas Peichl, 2012. "Comparing Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the US: New Results," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 525, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
  15. David Altig, 2001. "Simulating Fundamental Tax Reform in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 574-595, June.
  16. Blumkin, Tomer & Ruffle, Bradley J. & Ganun, Yosef, 2012. "Are income and consumption taxes ever really equivalent? Evidence from a real-effort experiment with real goods," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1200-1219.
  17. Rupert Sausgruber & Jean-Robert Tyran, . "Testing the Mill hypothesis of fiscal illusion," Discussion Papers 04-18, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics, revised Sep 2004.
  18. Fidel Picos-Sánchez, 2011. "Consumption Taxation as an Additional Burden on Labour Income," OECD Taxation Working Papers 7, OECD Publishing.
  19. Peichl, Andreas & Schneider, Hilmar & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2010. "Documentation IZAΨMOD: The IZA Policy SImulation MODel," IZA Discussion Papers 4865, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. Ruud de Mooij & Michael Keen, 2012. ""Fiscal Devaluation" and Fiscal Consolidation: The VAT in Troubled Times," NBER Chapters, in: Fiscal Policy after the Financial Crisis, pages 443-485 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Sutherland, Holly & Taylor, Rebecca & Gomulka, Joanna, 2002. "Combining Household Income and Expenditure Data in Policy Simulations," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(4), pages 517-36, December.
  22. Train,Kenneth E., 2009. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521766555.
  23. Wolfram F. Richter & Robin W. Boadway, 2005. "Trading Off Tax Distortion and Tax Evasion," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(3), pages 361-381, 08.
  24. Christoph Boehringer & Stefan Boeters & Michael Feil, 2004. "Taxation and Unemployment: An Applied General Equilibrium Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 1272, CESifo Group Munich.
  25. Peichl, Andreas & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2012. "Accounting for labor demand effects in structural labor supply models," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 129-138.
  26. W. J. Corlett & D. C. Hague, 1953. "Complementarity and the Excess Burden of Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 21-30.
  27. N. Gregory Mankiw & Matthew Weinzierl & Danny Yagan, 2009. "Optimal Taxation in Theory and Practice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 147-74, Fall.
  28. André Decoster & Jason Loughrey & Cathal O'Donoghue & Dirk Verwerft, 2010. "How regressive are indirect taxes? A microsimulation analysis for five European countries," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(2), pages 326-350.
  29. Feil, Michael & Klinger, Sabine & Zika, Gerd, 2006. "Sozialabgaben und Beschäftigung : Simulationen mit drei makroökonomischen Modellen," IAB Discussion Paper 200622, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  30. Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen, 2004. "Optimum taxation and the allocation of time," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 545-557, March.
  31. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1995. "Uncertainty, Optimal Taxation and the Direct versus Indirect Tax Controversy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1165-79, September.
  32. Naito Hisahiro, 2007. "Atkinson-Stiglitz Theorem with Endogenous Human Capital Accumulation," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-19, September.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7804. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.