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- PublicationTax-Benefit Systems in Europe and the US: Between Equity and EfficiencyWhether observed differences in redistributive policies across countries are the result of differences in social preferences or efficiency constraints is an important question that paves the debate about the optimality of welfare regimes. To shed new light on this question, we estimate labor supply elasticities on microdata and adopt an inverted optimal tax approach to characterize the redistributive preferences embodied in the welfare systems of 17 EU countries and the US. Implicit social welfare functions are broadly compatible with the fiction of an optimizing Paretian social planner. Some exceptions due to generous demogrant transfers are consistent with the ignorance of behavioral responses by some European governments and are partly corrected by recent policy developments. Heterogeneity in leisure-consumption preferences somewhat affect the international comparison in degrees of revealed inequality aversion, but differences in social preferences are signi ficant only between broad groups of countries.
- PublicationDistributional consequences of labor demand adjustments to a downturn : a model-based approach with application to Germany 2008-09Macro-level changes can have substantial effects on the distribution of resources at the household level. While it is possible to speculate about which groups are likely to be hardest-hit, detailed distributional studies are still largely backward-looking. This paper suggests a straightforward approach to gauge the distributional and fiscal implications of large output changes at an early stage. We illustrate the method with an evaluation of the impact of the 2008-2009 crisis in Germany. We take as a starting point a very detailed administrative matched employer-employee dataset to estimate labor demand and predict the effects of output shocks at a disaggregated level. The predicted employment effects are then transposed to household-level microdata, in order to analyze the incidence of rising unemployment and reduced working hours on poverty and inequality. We focus on two alternative scenarios of the labor demand adjustment process, one based on reductions in hours (intensive margin) and close to the German experience, and the other assuming extensive margin adjustments that take place through layoffs (close to the US situation). Our results suggest that the distributional and fiscal consequences are less severe when labor demand reacts along the intensive margin.