IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Distributional effects of a flat tax: An empirical analysis for the Netherlands


  • Caminada, Koen
  • Goudswaard, Kees


In this paper, we construct a flat rate/broad base personal income tax system and we compare the distribution of the current personal income tax (including social contributions) in the Netherlands to the distribution of the simulated flat rate tax. Using extended data (personal income panel survey), the effects are simulated of eliminating deductions in exchange for a reduction in tax rates, sufficient to keep personal income tax revenue constant at the initial level and distribution of pre-tax incomes. Our simulations indicate that: - The redistributive effect of the current rate structure of the Dutch tax system - with marginal rates of 37.5%, 50% and 60% - is substantially diminished by tax deductions. Deductions appear to be very income-elastic. - After the simulated base broadening, a proportional rate of 33.2% balances the budget (ex ante). Such a flat rate causes only relatively small changes in average tax ratios. For a clear majority of the taxpayers, effects on after-tax income lie within a range of minus/plus 5%. - Tax progressivity is mainly caused by the fixed personal exemption, which was maintained in the simulated flat rate tax. We calculated only a 7 percent lower income elasticity in a flat rate system. We conclude that the income effects of the introduction of a broad base/flat personal income tax would be relatively small and cannot be considered as prohibitive.

Suggested Citation

  • Caminada, Koen & Goudswaard, Kees, 1997. "Distributional effects of a flat tax: An empirical analysis for the Netherlands," MPRA Paper 20184, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:20184

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Feld, Alan L., 1995. "Living With the Flat Tax," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(4), pages 603-17, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    flat tax; deductions; progressivity; distribution of the tax burden;

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:20184. 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: (Joachim Winter). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.