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Shifting taxes from labor to consumption: More employment and more inequality

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  • Pestel, Nico
  • Sommer, Eric

Abstract

This paper investigates the effect of shifting taxes from labor income to consumption on labor supply and the distribution of income in Germany. We simulate stepwise increases in the value-added tax (VAT) rate, which are compensated by revenue-neutral reductions in income-related taxes. We differentiate between the personal income tax (PIT) and social security contributions (SSC). Based on a dual data base and a microsimulation model of household labor supply behavior, we find a regressive impact of such a tax shift in the short run. When accounting for labor supply adjustments, the adverse distributional impact persists for PIT reductions, while the overall effects on inequality and progressivity become lower when payroll taxes are reduced. This is partly due to increases in aggregate labor supply, resulting from higher work incentives.

Suggested Citation

  • Pestel, Nico & Sommer, Eric, 2015. "Shifting taxes from labor to consumption: More employment and more inequality," ZEW Discussion Papers 15-042, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:15042
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    Cited by:

    1. Callan, Tim & Doorley, Karina & Savage, Michael, 2018. "Inequality in EU crisis countries. How effective were automatic stabilisers?," EUROMOD Working Papers EM10/18, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    2. Oguzhan Akgun & Boris Cournède & Jean-Marc Fournier, 2017. "The effects of the tax mix on inequality and growth," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1447, OECD Publishing.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    income and payroll taxes; consumption taxes; microsimulation; inequality; Germany;

    JEL classification:

    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

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