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The last 60 years have seen Australia and the United Kingdom diverge, both socially and economically. This paper considers how the widening social gap between the two…
The last 60 years have seen Australia and the United Kingdom diverge, both socially and economically. This paper considers how the widening social gap between the two countries is reflected by their respective redistributive systems. The analysis is based upon two microsimulation procedures – one static and the other dynamic – both of which are used to consider the probable distributional effects that would arise if elements of the Australian and UK tax and benefits systems were exchanged. The static microsimulation analysis presented suggests that comparisons based purely upon cross-sectional survey data are affected by population heterogeneity, which tend to overstate the redistributive effect of the Australian transfer system relative to the UK. Nevertheless, the dynamic microsimulations suggest that, on balance, the Australian transfer system is more redistributive than the UK system, and reflects a greater concern for redistribution between households. The UK system, in contrast, reflects a greater concern for redistribution through the life course.
Purpose – The concept of equality of opportunity (EOp) goes back to Roemer (1993, 1998) who argues that a society should guarantee its members equal access to advantage…
Purpose – The concept of equality of opportunity (EOp) goes back to Roemer (1993, 1998) who argues that a society should guarantee its members equal access to advantage regardless of their circumstances, while holding them responsible for turning that access into actual advantage by the application of effort. First, this chapter investigates how family background influences income acquisition in 17 European countries. Second, it particularly scrutinizes how governments affect EOp through redistributive policies.
Methodology – We apply two different methods in order to measure EOp: the Gini opportunity index defined by Lefranc et al. (2008) and a parametric estimation method. Effective redistribution is measured via income concepts at different stages of the tax-and-transfer schemes.
Findings – We find clear country clustering in terms of EOp for Nordic, Continental European, and Anglo-Saxon countries. For Eastern Europe our results are less definitive. By examining the impact of redistributive policies in the countries under analysis, it can be concluded that both taxes and transfers reduce inequality of opportunity (IOp), with social benefits typically playing a key role. Furthermore, the equalizing impacts of the tax-benefit system on IOp differ substantially from the ones observed in the traditional notion of inequality of outcomes.
Originality – We systematically compare two approaches used to identify the extent of EOp. Our results reveal that both methods yield rather robust country rankings for various circumstance sets. Furthermore, the impact of tax-benefit policies on EOp is rarely addressed in the existing literature. We contribute by focusing on effective redistribution directly related to different income concepts.
Brazil, a large developing economy whose main exports consist of primary commodities, benefited greatly from the boom in commodity prices during the first decade of the…
Brazil, a large developing economy whose main exports consist of primary commodities, benefited greatly from the boom in commodity prices during the first decade of the current century. However, with a large share of its population with low and very low incomes, there is a potential for some adverse redistributive effects. The purpose of this paper is to address this issue by simulating the ex ante effects using a mixed endogenous–exogenous social accounting matrix (SAM) price model.
The methodology consists of two parts. First, using a mixed endogenous–exogenous SAM price model, the authors obtain the elasticities of domestic prices (goods, services and factors) in response to the increase in international prices of three types of commodities: agricultural, oil/gas and minerals. Second, the authors run micro-simulations at the household level on welfare effects, as well as on some distributive indices. Analysis at the regional level is also carried out.
Following increases in the international prices of primary commodities, the responses of internal prices (goods, services and factors) mean a welfare loss all over the entire distribution of household per capita expenditure; the least affected are those households at the low end and around the median of the distribution. However, the differences among households are not very important. Moreover, once we take into account government transfers and payments from social security, the magnitude of the effects reduces even further. Also, inequality indices and poverty rates show little responsiveness to the simulated shocks. Finally, poorer regions are the most likely to be affected, but also the distribution of effects across households shows differences between regions.
Economies with comparative advantages in the production of primary commodities can benefit at a macro-level from the increase in the international prices of such commodities. However, when a large part of the population spends a high proportion of its income on goods whose prices may be affected by the increase in commodity prices, there is a room for some undesirable effects from a redistributive standpoint. This study provides valuable results about such potential effects for Brazil, a large developing economy.
The secondary analysis of the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) is used to examine inequality in the United Kingdom compared with other…
The secondary analysis of the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) is used to examine inequality in the United Kingdom compared with other European Union (EU) countries and to analyse how inequality has changed over the period from the start of the great financial crisis in 2008–2015. The analysis compares inequality in market income, gross income and disposable incomes, and measured inequality using the Gini coefficient, 80/20 and 90/10 ratios. It includes an analysis of the impact of cash benefits and direct taxes on market income and how the composition of households in different parts of the income distribution has changed over time. In addition, inequality within the EU is explored. The chapter concludes with a discussion of what contribution the EU itself through its own institutions and policies plays in mitigating market inequalities. We find that the distribution of market income in the United Kingdom is comparatively unequal, but the UK’s relative position on disposable income is greatly improved, due to an effective system of direct taxes and transfers. The conclusions remain broadly similar for all the inequality indices that are considered. There is evidence that households with children have moved down the distribution between 2008 and 2014 and aged households have moved up the distribution in most EU countries including the United Kingdom. The chapter concludes that EU policies have relatively little impact on inequality and that inequalities can really only be tackled using national redistributive policies.
Few issues in business ethics are as polarizing as the practice of risk classification and underwriting in the insurance industry. Theorists who approach the issue from a background in economics often start from the assumption that policy-holders should be charged a rate that reflects the expected loss that they bring to the insurance scheme. Yet theorists who approach the question from a background in philosophy or civil rights law often begin with a presumption against so-called “actuarially fair” premiums and in favor of “community rating,” in which everyone is charged the same price. This paper begins by examining and rejecting the three primary arguments that have been given to show that actuarially fair premiums are unjust. It then considers the two primary arguments that have been offered by those who wish to defend the practice of risk classification. These arguments overshoot their target, by requiring a “freedom to underwrite” that is much greater than the level of freedom enjoyed in most other commercial transactions. The paper concludes by presenting a defense of a more limited right to underwrite, one that grants the legitimacy of the central principle of risk classification, but permits specific deviations from that ideal when other important social goods are at stake.
Objective – Measurement of the incidence of health financing contributions across socio-economic groups has proven valuable in informing health care financing reforms…
Objective – Measurement of the incidence of health financing contributions across socio-economic groups has proven valuable in informing health care financing reforms. However, there is little evidence as to how to carry out financing incidence analysis (FIA) in lower income settings. We outline some of the challenges faced when carrying out a FIA in Ghana, Tanzania and South Africa and illustrate how innovative techniques were used to overcome data weaknesses in these settings.
Methodology – FIA was carried out for tax, insurance and out-of-pocket (OOP) payments. The primary data sources were Living Standards Measurement Surveys (LSMS) and household surveys conducted in each of the countries; tax authorities and insurance funds also provided information. Consumption expenditure and a composite index of socio-economic status (SES) were used to assess financing equity. Where possible conventional methods of FIA were applied. Numerous challenges were documented and solution strategies devised.
Results – LSMS are likely to underestimate financial contributions to health care by individuals. For tax incidence analysis, reported income tax payments from secondary sources were severely under-reported. Income tax payers and shareholders could not be reliably identified. The use of income or consumption expenditure to estimate income tax contributions was found to be a more reliable method of estimating income tax incidence. Assumptions regarding corporate tax incidence had a huge effect on the progressivity of corporate tax and on overall tax progressivity. LSMS consumption categories did not always coincide with tax categories for goods subject to excise tax (e.g. wine and spirits were combined, despite differing tax rates). Tobacco companies, alcohol distributors and advertising agencies were used to provide more detailed information on consumption patterns for goods subject to excise tax by income category. There was little guidance on how to allocate fuel levies associated with ‘public transport’ use. Hence, calculations of fuel tax on public transport were based on individual expenditure on public transport, the average cost per kilometre and average rates of fuel consumption for each form of transport. For insurance contributions, employees will not report on employer contributions unless specifically requested to and are frequently unsure of their contributions. Therefore, we collected information on total health insurance contributions from individual schemes and regulatory authorities. OOP payments are likely to be under-reported due to long recall periods; linking OOP expenditure and illness incidence questions – omitting preventive care; and focusing on the last service used when people may have used multiple services during an illness episode. To derive more robust estimates of financing incidence, we collected additional primary data on OOP expenditures together with insurance enrolment rates and associated payments. To link primary data to the LSMS, a composite index of SES was used in Ghana and Tanzania and non-durable expenditure was used in South Africa.
Policy implications – We show how data constraints can be overcome for FIA in lower income countries and provide recommendations for future studies.
This paper produces a comprehensive assessment of income redistribution to the working-age population, covering OECD countries over the last two decades. Redistribution is…
This paper produces a comprehensive assessment of income redistribution to the working-age population, covering OECD countries over the last two decades. Redistribution is quantified as the relative reduction in market income inequality achieved by personal income taxes (PIT), employees’ social security contributions, and cash transfers, based on household-level micro-data. A detailed decomposition analysis uncovers the respective roles of size, tax progressivity, and transfer targeting for overall redistribution, the respective role of various categories of transfers for transfer redistribution; as well as redistribution for various income groups. The paper shows a widespread decline in redistribution across the OECD, both on average and in the majority of countries for which data going back to the mid-1990s are available. This was primarily associated with a decline in cash transfer redistribution while PIT played a less important and more heterogeneous role across countries. In turn, the decline in the redistributive effect of cash transfers reflected a decline in their size and in particular by less redistributive insurance transfers. In some countries, this was mitigated by more redistributive assistance transfers but the resulting increase in the targeting of total transfers was not sufficient to prevent transfer redistribution from declining.
This paper investigates the impact of state governments’ “Tax and Expenditure Limits” (TELs) on their tax progressivity and redistributive spending. A two stage least…
This paper investigates the impact of state governments’ “Tax and Expenditure Limits” (TELs) on their tax progressivity and redistributive spending. A two stage least squares (2SLS) regression model of data covering 1985-2007, was employed to allow for simultaneity in the relationships between intergovernmental transfer, tax progressivity, expenditure progressivity, and labor mobility. This model tested whether high- or low income residents had paid for and benefited from these fiscal institutions. As a result we find that TELs significantly decrease tax progressivity and increase poverty rate. These two policy effects should be explicitly accounted for in the design or revision of TELs.