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The Impact of Federal Income Taxes and Cash Transfers On the Distribution of Lifetime Household Income, 1969-1981

John Fitzgerald () and Tim Maloney
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Tim Maloney: Bowdoin College

Public Finance Review, 1990, vol. 18, issue 2, 182-197

Abstract: This study uses a longitudinal sample of stable households to assess the impact of federal taxes and transfers on the distribution of household income during the period 1969-1981. After controlling for the upward movement in age-income profiles across birth year cohorts, earned lifetime incomes are found to be more equally distributed than earned annual incomes. The overall tax and transfer system is found to have a larger redistributive effect on lifetime incomes. While taxes are relatively more important than transfers in reducing lifetime income inequality among married couples, the opposite is true for single-headed households. Taxes and transfers also redistribute lifetime income from married couples to single-headed households.

Date: 1990
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Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:18:y:1990:i:2:p:182-197