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Social policy and income distribution: An empirical analysis for the Netherlands

Author

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  • Caminada, Koen
  • Goudswaard, Kees

Abstract

In most OECD-countries income inequality has increased during the last two decades. In this paper, we investigate to what extent changes in the overall distribution of incomes can be attributed to social policy measures. The case for the Netherlands is particularly interesting, because the Dutch welfare state has been reformed rather fundamentally in recent years. The budget incidence analysis indicates that in the period 1981-1996 inequality of adjusted disposable household income increased sharply. The main force behind this phenomenon was a more unequal distribution of market incomes, but social transfers also explain a substantial large part of the rise in inequality. Social security reforms indeed seem to have made the income distribution less equal. The results of a more detailed analysis for 1996 on the redistributive impact of social policy and of specific social programs - using data from an unique income panel survey - can be summarised as follows: - The first five income deciles clearly gain from social security, while the higher deciles loose. Social security causes a reduction in inequality by 26 to 50 percent, depending on the indicator used. - The public old age program and the social assistance program explain by far the largest part of redistribution by the social system, while the disability and unemployment programs do not have strong redistributive effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Caminada, Koen & Goudswaard, Kees, 1999. "Social policy and income distribution: An empirical analysis for the Netherlands," MPRA Paper 20183, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:20183
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/20183/2/MPRA_paper_20183.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peter Lambert & Xavier Ramos, 1997. "Horizontal Inequity and Vertical Redistribution," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 4(1), pages 25-37, January.
    2. Paolo Figini, 1998. "Inequality Measures, Equivalence Scales and Adjustment for Household Size and Composition," Economics Technical Papers 988, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    3. Gottschalk, Peter & Smeeding, Timothy M., 2000. "Empirical evidence on income inequality in industrialized countries," Handbook of Income Distribution,in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5, pages 261-307 Elsevier.
    4. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
    5. Koen Caminada & Kees Goudswaard, 1996. "Progression and revenue effects of income tax reform," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 3(1), pages 57-66, January.
    6. Jesús Ruiz-Huerta & Luis Ayala & Rosa Martinez, 1999. "Inequality, Growth and Welfare: An International Comparison," LIS Working papers 215, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    7. Bovenberg, A.L., 1997. "Dutch employment growth : An analysis," Other publications TiSEM e57bc89a-f3b7-4c07-a8db-c, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    8. John P. Formby & W. James Smith & Paul D. Thistle, 1990. "The Average Tax Burden and the Welfare Implications of Global Tax Progressivity," Public Finance Review, , vol. 18(1), pages 3-24, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kaja Bonesmo Fredriksen, 2012. "Income Inequality in the European Union," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 952, OECD Publishing.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social Policy; Income Distribution (Indices); Taxes and Transfers;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence

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