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Reducing the excess burden of subsidizing the stork: Joint taxation, individual taxation, and family tax splitting

  • Meier, Volker
  • Wrede, Matthias

Analyzing a homogenous household setting with endogenous fertility and endogenous labor supply, we demonstrate that moving from joint taxation to individual taxation and adapting child benefits so as to keep fertility constant entails a Pareto improvement. The change is associated with an increase in labor supply and consumption and a reduction of the marginal income tax, while the child benefit may move in either direction. Similarly, a move from joint taxation to some scheme of family tax splitting increases labor supply and welfare.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 19213.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Population Economics 3 26(2013): pp. 1195-1207
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:19213
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  1. Viktor Steiner & Katharina Wrohlich, 2008. "Introducing Family Tax Splitting in Germany: How Would It Affect the Income Distribution, Work Incentives, and Household Welfare?," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 64(1), pages 115-142, March.
  2. Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2007. "The Taxation of Couples," Discussion Papers 07/21, Department of Economics, University of York.
  3. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner, 2004. "Optimal Taxation of Married Couples with Household Production," EPRU Working Paper Series 04-10, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Patricia Apps & Ray Rees, 2004. "Fertility, Taxation and Family Policy," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(4), pages 745-763, December.
  7. Martin Feldstein & Daniel R. Feenberg, 1996. "The Taxation of Two-Earner Families," NBER Chapters, in: Empirical Foundations of Household Taxation, pages 39-75 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Emmanuel Saez, 2006. "The Optimal Income Taxation of Couples," NBER Working Papers 12685, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Meier, Volker & Rainer, Helmut, 2012. "On the optimality of joint taxation for noncooperative couples," Munich Reprints in Economics 19177, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  10. CREMER, Helmuth & DELLIS, Arnaud & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 2001. "Family size and optimal income taxation," CORE Discussion Papers 2001021, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  11. Alessandro Balestrino, 2001. "On the Optimal Fiscal Treatment of Family Size," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 58(2), pages 140-, February.
  12. Piggott, John & Whalley, John, 1996. "The Tax Unit and Household Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 398-418, April.
  13. Craig Brett, 2007. "Optimal nonlinear taxes for families," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 225-261, June.
  14. Cigno, Alessandro & Pettini, Anna, 2002. "Taxing family size and subsidizing child-specific commodities?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 75-90, April.
  15. Michiel Evers & Ruud Mooij & Daniel Vuuren, 2008. "The Wage Elasticity of Labour Supply: A Synthesis of Empirical Estimates," De Economist, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 25-43, March.
  16. Cigno, Alessandro & Luporini, Annalisa & Pettini, Anna, 2003. "Transfers to families with children as a principal-agent problem," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 1165-1177, May.
  17. Cigno, Alessandro, 1986. "Fertility and the Tax-Benefit System: A Reconsideration of the Theory of Family Taxation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(384), pages 1035-51, December.
  18. Immervoll, Herwig & Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup & Verdelin, Nicolaj, 2011. "Optimal tax and transfer programs for couples with extensive labor supply responses," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1485-1500.
  19. Alessandro Balestrino & Alessandro Cigno & Anna Pettini, 2002. "Endogenous Fertility and the Design of Family Taxation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 175-193, March.
  20. Fraser, Clive D, 2001. "Income Risk, the Tax-Benefit System and the Demand for Children," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(269), pages 105-25, February.
  21. Alessandro Cigno, 2001. "Comparative Advantage, Observability, and the Optimal Tax Treatment of Families with Children," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 455-470, August.
  22. 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.
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