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The Taxation of Couples

Felix J. Bierbrauer (), Pierre Boyer, Andreas Peichl and Daniel Weishaar ()
Additional contact information
Felix J. Bierbrauer: Center for Macroeconomic Research, University of Cologne, Germany
Daniel Weishaar: LMU Munich

No 239, ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series from University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany

Abstract: This paper studies the tax treatment of couples. We develop two different ap-proaches. One is tailored to the analysis of tax systems that stick to the principle that the tax base for couples is the sum of their incomes. One is tailored to the analysis of reforms toward individual taxation. We study the US federal income tax since the 1960s through the lens of this framework. We find that, in the recent past, realizing efficiency gains requires lowering marginal tax rates for secondary earners. We also find that revenue-neutral reforms towards individual taxation are in the interest of couples with high secondary earnings while couples with low secondary earnings are worse off. The support for such a reform recently passed the majority threshold. It is rejected, however, by a Rawlsian social welfare function. Thus, there is a tension between Rawlsian and Feminist notions of social welfare.

Keywords: Taxation of couples; Tax reforms; Optimal taxation; Political economy; Non-linear income taxation. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C72 D72 D82 H21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 172 pages
Date: 2023-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-acc and nep-pbe
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1)

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https://www.econtribute.de/RePEc/ajk/ajkdps/ECONtribute_239_2023.pdf First version, 2023 (application/pdf)

Related works:
Working Paper: The Taxation of Couples (2023) Downloads
Working Paper: The taxation of couples (2023) Downloads
Working Paper: The Taxation of Couples (2023) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ajk:ajkdps:239

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