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Home Publications Mobility and the lifetime distributional impact of tax and transfer reforms

Mobility and the lifetime distributional impact of tax and transfer reforms

Peter Levell, Barra Roantree and Jonathan Shaw
IFS Working Paper W16/17

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.