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How do Germans react to the commuting allowance?

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  • Weiss, Martin

Abstract

I research the consequences of changes in the deductibility of commuting costs in Germany from 2001 to 2006. Official figures provided by the Federal Statistical Office highlight the fact that German taxpayers claimed deductions for commuting allowances to the tune of 23-29 billion e over the years 2001-2004. Granting or not granting these deductions thus has wide ranging fiscal implications, a point made more poignant by the fact that Anglo-Saxon countries have never allowed them. To determine whether Germans do react to the commuting allowance, I exploit the variation in the amount per kilometer granted between fiscal years 2003 and 2004 by looking at taxpayers featuring sufficient labor earnings and longish commuting distances whose deductions unambiguously exceed the basic allowance in the German Income Tax Code. I try to find evidence of changes along several behavioral margins in response to variations in the deduction granted. Labor supply behavior turns out to be unresponsive while the commuting distances do show a palpable reaction.

Suggested Citation

  • Weiss, Martin, 2009. "How do Germans react to the commuting allowance?," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 88, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:arqudp:88
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    1. van Ommeren, Jos N. & van der Straaten, J. Willemijn, 2008. "The effect of search imperfections on commuting behaviour: Evidence from employed and self-employed workers," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 127-147, March.
    2. Van Ommeren, Jos & Fosgerau, Mogens, 2009. "Workers' marginal costs of commuting," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 38-47, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jianghong Li & Matthias Pollmann-Schult, 2016. "Fathers’ Commute to Work and Children’s Social and Emotional Well-Being in Germany," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 488-501, September.
    2. Heuermann, Daniel F. & Assmann, Franziska & vom Berge, Philipp & Freund, Florian, 2017. "The distributional effect of commuting subsidies - Evidence from geo-referenced data and a large-scale policy reform," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 11-24.
    3. Voßmerbäumer, Jan & Wagner, Franz W., 2013. "Steuerwirkungen betrieblicher Entgeltpolitik," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 144, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.

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