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Less Income Inequality and More Growth – Are They Compatible? Part 3. Income Redistribution via Taxes and Transfers Across OECD Countries

Listed author(s):
  • Isabelle Joumard


  • Mauro Pisu


  • Debra Bloch


Taxes and transfers reduce inequality in disposable income relative to market income. The effect varies, however, across OECD countries. The redistributive impact of taxes and transfers depends on the size, mix and the progressivity of each component. Some countries with a relatively small tax and welfare system (e.g. Australia) achieve the same redistributive impact as countries characterised by much higher taxes and transfers (e.g. Germany) because they rely more on income taxes, which are more progressive than other taxes, and on means-tested cash transfers. This paper provides an assessment of the redistributive effect of the main taxes and cash transfers based on a set of policy indicators and a literature review. It also identifies empirically four groups of countries with tax and transfer systems that share broadly similar features. The paper then assesses potential trade-offs and complementarities between economic growth and income redistribution objectives associated with various tax and transfer reform options. Moins d'inégalités de revenu et plus de croissance – Ces deux objectifs sont-ils compatibles ?: Partie 3. Redistribution du revenu par le biais de l'impôt et des transferts dans les pays de l'OCDE Les impôts et les transferts amènent les inégalités de revenu disponible à un niveau inférieur à celles du revenu marchand. Cet effet redistributif des impôts et transferts n’a pas la même ampleur dans tous les pays de l’OCDE. Il dépend de la taille, de la composition des impôts et transferts ainsi que de la progressivité de chaque composante. Certains pays ayant un système fiscal et de protection sociale relativement peu importants (comme l’Australie, par exemple) obtiennent le même effet redistributif que des pays où les impôts et les transferts sont beaucoup plus élevés (comme l’Allemagne) du fait qu’ils recourent davantage aux impôts sur le revenu, plus progressifs que les autres impôts, et à des transferts en espèces ciblés sur les ménages les plus démunis. Ce document donne une évaluation de l’effet redistributif des principaux impôts et transferts à partir d’une série d’indicateurs de l’action publique et d’une revue des études existantes. Il identifie aussi, de manière empirique, quatre groupes de pays dont les systèmes fiscaux et de protection sociale présentent des caractéristiques à peu près similaires. Le document évalue ensuite les arbitrages et complémentarités potentiels entre les objectifs de croissance économique et de redistribution du revenu relatifs aux diverses possibilités de réforme des systèmes fiscaux et de protection sociale.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 926.

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Date of creation: 10 Jan 2012
Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:926-en
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