PROGRESSIVITY AND REDISTRIBUTION IN NON-REVENUE NEUTRAL TAX REFORMS: THE LEVEL AND DISTANCE EFFECTS

Authors


  • Note: We would like to thank two anonymous referees for providing us with fruitful comments and suggestions.

Carlos Garcimartín, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Facultad de Ciencias Jurídicas y Sociales, Campus de Vicalvaro, Paseo de los Artilleros s/n 28032, Madrid, Spain (carlos.garcimartin@urjc.es).

Abstract

Kakwani and Reynolds–Smolensky indices are used in the literature to measure the progressivity and redistributive capacity of taxes. These indices may, however, show some limits when used to make normative assessments about non-revenue neutral tax reforms. Two approaches have traditionally been taken to overcome this problem. The first of these consists of comparing after-tax income distributions through generalized Lorenz (concentration) curves. The second approach is based on the decomposition of changes in the Reynolds–Smolensky index into changes in the average tax rate and variations in progressivity. Nonetheless, this decomposition between the average tax rate and progressivity may be further exploited to obtain some information that can be relevant to assess tax reforms. The main aim of this study is to draw up some indicators that can be useful to quantify the effects of non-revenue neutral tax reforms. These indicators are used to investigate the last personal income tax reforms that have taken place in Spain.

Ancillary