Nicolas Hérault

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Title: The evolution of tax implicit value judgements, redistribution and income inequality in the UK: 1968 to 2015

Abstract: An issue of interest in the literature that explores the drivers of inequality is the distributional bearing of tax and transfer policy, where an important theme concerns changes in the relative treatment of alternative population subgroups. An emerging consensus from that literature is that there has been a general shift in tax and transfer systems of high-income countries, from redistributing over income per se, to redistributing over demographic characteristics. A new analytical approach is used to explore the evolving value judgements implicit in the relative treatment of demographic subgroups by the UK tax and transfer system during the last half century. The analysis reveals the extent to which treatment of some population subgroups – particularly single parents and age pensioners – has improved, relative to households of healthy working-age adults without children. Accounting for the changing value judgements implicit in tax and transfer policy is shown to provide a fresh perspective on the observed evolution of redistribution and inequality.

Presenter: Nicolas Hérault, Melbourne Institute

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