[English] [français]

Egor MALKOV - University of Minnesota

Egor Malkov (Department of Economics, University of Minnesota) will present "Optimal Income Taxation of Singles and Couples".

Abstract :
How different should income taxation be across singles and couples ? I answer this question using a general equilibrium overlapping generations model that incorporates single and married households, intensive and extensive margins of labor supply, human capital accumulation, and uninsurable idiosyncratic labor productivity risk. The degree of tax progressivity is allowed to vary with marital status. I parameterize the model to match the U.S. economy and find that couples should be taxed less progressively than singles. Relative to the actual U.S. tax system, the optimal reform reduces progressivity for couples and increases it for singles. The key determinants of optimal policy for couples relative to singles include the detrimental effects of joint taxation and progressivity on labor supply and human capital accumulation of married secondary earners, the degree of assortative mating, and within-household insurance through responses of spousal labor supply. I conclude that explicitly modeling couples and accounting for the extensive margin of labor supply and human capital accumulation is qualitatively and quantitatively important for the optimal policy design.