1887

OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

Less Income Inequality and More Growth – Are They Compatible? Part 3. Income Redistribution via Taxes and Transfers Across OECD Countries

Taxes and transfers reduce inequality in disposable income relative to market income. The effect varies, however, across OECD countries. The redistributive impact of taxes and transfers depends on the size, mix and the progressivity of each component. Some countries with a relatively small tax and welfare system (e.g. Australia) achieve the same redistributive impact as countries characterised by much higher taxes and transfers (e.g. Germany) because they rely more on income taxes, which are more progressive than other taxes, and on means-tested cash transfers. This paper provides an assessment of the redistributive effect of the main taxes and cash transfers based on a set of policy indicators and a literature review. It also identifies empirically four groups of countries with tax and transfer systems that share broadly similar features. The paper then assesses potential trade-offs and complementarities between economic growth and income redistribution objectives associated with various tax and transfer reform options.

English

Keywords: cluster analysis, welfare system, income inequality, redistribution, taxes, transfers
JEL: H53: Public Economics / National Government Expenditures and Related Policies / National Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs; H2: Public Economics / Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue; H23: Public Economics / Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue / Taxation and Subsidies: Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies; I38: Health, Education, and Welfare / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty: Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs; I3: Health, Education, and Welfare / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
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