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Mobility and the lifetime distributional impact of tax and transfer reforms

Authors: Peter Levell , Barra Roantree and Jonathan Shaw
Date: 09 September 2016
Type: cemmap Working Paper, W16/17
DOI: 10.1920/wp.ifs.2016.1617

Abstract

The distributional impact of proposed reforms plays a central role in public debates around tax and transfer policy. We show that accounting for realistic patterns of mobility in employment, earnings and household circumstances over the life-cycle greatly affects our assessment of the distributional effects of tax and transfer reforms. We focus on three reforms modelled in the UK context: (i) changes to out-of-work versus in-work benefits, (ii) adjustments to income tax rates, and (iii) reforms to indirect taxation. In all three cases, the long-run distributional impact differs to that implied by a standard crosssection analysis in important ways. 

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