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International Tax and Public Finance

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 653–686 | Cite as

Gender-based and couple-based taxation

  • Spencer Bastani
Article

Abstract

In this paper, I explore the optimal taxation of singles and couples in an economy with bargaining couples. The government is concerned with the redistribution of income from individuals with high utility to individuals with low utility, recognizing that some individuals live in couple households where resources are unevenly distributed. I analyze how redistributive linear income taxes, which depend on either gender or household composition (or both) impact the distribution of utility within and across households. An interesting implication arising from the interaction between the model elements is that even though between-group lump-sum transfers always favor women, when the bargaining power of men is high, women are subject to a higher tax rate; this in contrast to previous analyses of gender-based taxation. My quantitative analysis demonstrates that the welfare effects of gender-based taxation are sizable and even larger when taxes depend on the composition of the household.

Keywords

Optimal taxation Tagging Intra-household bargaining 

JEL Classification

H21 D13 J16 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I am grateful to Dan Anderberg, Ted Bergstrom, Sören Blomquist, Robin Boadway, John Conley, Vidar Christiansen, Luca Micheletto, Eva Mörk, Katarina Nordblom, Ray Rees, Casey Rothschild, Håkan Selin and Laurent Simula, as well as seminar participants in Uppsala and Oslo, and at the IIPF Conference in Dresden and the NTA Conference in Providence for helpful comments and suggestions. Financial support from Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and the Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation is gratefully acknowledged.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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