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Alternative Tax Treatments of the Family: Simulation Methodology and Results

  • Daniel R. Feenberg
  • Harvey S. Rosen

A number of suggestions have been made to reform the tax treatment of the family. None of these proposals has been accompanied by careful estimates of their effects on the income distribution, revenue collections, and labor supply. The purpose of this paper is to provide such information. Our analysis is based upon a series of simulations using the TAXSIM file of the National 3ureau of Economic Research, which contains information from a sample of tax returns filed in 1974. Substantial attention is devoted to the problem of imputing data that are absent from TAXSIM. The simulations assume that wives' labor supply behavior depends upon the tax system. The tax reforms simulated include various exemptions and credits for secondary workers, as well as changes in the rules governing filing status. In a number of cases we find that allowing for even a modest behavioral response leads to substantial changes in the revenue implications of the proposals.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 0497.

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Date of creation: Jul 1980
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Publication status: published as Feenberg, Daniel R. and Harvey S. Rosen. "Alternative Tax Treatments of the Family: Simulation Methodology and Results." Chapter l in Behavioral Methods in Tax Policy Analysis, ed. Martin Feldstein. Chicago: UCP, 1983.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0497
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  1. 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.
  2. Feldstein, Martin S & Taylor, Amy, 1976. "The Income Tax and Charitable Contributions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(6), pages 1201-22, November.
  3. Rosen, Harvey S, 1976. "Taxes in a Labor Supply Model with Joint Wage-Hours Determination," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(3), pages 485-507, May.
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