Tax Policy and Income Inequality in the U.S., 1979-2007

60 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2014

See all articles by Olivier Bargain

Olivier Bargain

IZA Institute of Labor Economics; University College Dublin (UCD)

Mathias Dolls

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Herwig Immervoll

World Bank, Europe and Central Asia; Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) - Social Policy Division; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; ISER Institute for Social and Economic Research; University of Canberra - National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM); United Nations - European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research

Dirk Neumann

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE)

Andreas Peichl

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research; University of Mannheim - School of Economics (VWL); IZA Institute of Labor Economics; University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)

Nico Pestel

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Sebastian Siegloch

IZA Institute of Labor Economics; University of Mannheim - Department of Economics; ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research - Corporate Taxation and Public Finance Research; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: December 16, 2013

Abstract

We assess the effects of U.S. tax policy reforms on inequality by applying a new decomposition method allowing us to disentangle the policy effect from changing market incomes. Over the period 1979-2007, the cumulative policy effect aggravated inequality by increasing the income share of the top 20% in contrast to the middle class’ share. The tax policy effect accounts for up to 29% of the total change in inequality; its contribution increases up to 41% if we take into account behavioral responses. While Republican policymakers increased inequality especially at the top, Democrats increased the income share of the bottom 80%.

Keywords: Tax policy, Inequality, Redistribution, Partisan Politics, Political Economy

JEL Classification: H23, H31, H53, P16

Suggested Citation

Bargain, Olivier and Dolls, Mathias and Immervoll, Herwig and Neumann, Dirk and Peichl, Andreas and Pestel, Nico and Siegloch, Sebastian, Tax Policy and Income Inequality in the U.S., 1979-2007 (December 16, 2013). ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 14-001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2383239 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2383239

Olivier Bargain

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

University College Dublin (UCD) ( email )

Belfield, Dublin 4 4
Ireland
+353 1 716 8357 (Phone)
+353 1 283 0068 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ucd.ie/economics/staff/obargain/obargain.htm

Mathias Dolls (Contact Author)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, 01069
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.cesifo-group.de/ifoHome/CESifo-Group/ifo/ifo-Mitarbeiter/cvifo-dolls_m.html

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Herwig Immervoll

World Bank, Europe and Central Asia ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) - Social Policy Division ( email )

2 rue Andre Pascal
Paris Cedex 16, 75775
France
(33 1) 45 24 92 14 (Phone)
(33 1) 44 30 61 78 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.oecd.org/els/social

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/profile?key=1935

ISER Institute for Social and Economic Research ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/people/research-associates

University of Canberra - National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) ( email )

Canberra, ACT 2601
AUSTRALIA

HOME PAGE: http://www.canberra.edu.au/centres/natsem/people/associates/herwig-immervoll

United Nations - European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research ( email )

Berggasse 17
Vienna, A1010
Austria

HOME PAGE: http://www.euro.centre.org

Dirk Neumann

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) ( email )

34 Voie du Roman Pays
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, b-1348
Belgium

Andreas Peichl

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research ( email )

P.O. Box 10 34 43
L 7,1
D-68034 Mannheim, 68034
Germany

University of Mannheim - School of Economics (VWL) ( email )

Mannheim 68131
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER)

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

Nico Pestel

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Sebastian Siegloch

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

University of Mannheim - Department of Economics ( email )

D-68131 Mannheim
Germany

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research - Corporate Taxation and Public Finance Research ( email )

United States

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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