Recent Trends in Income Redistribution in Australia: Can Changes in the Tax-Transfer System Account for the Decline in Redistribution?

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 02/14

Date: 2014

Author(s):

Nicolas Herault
Francisco Azpitarte

Abstract

We examine trends in the redistributive impact of the tax-transfer system in Australia between 1994 and 2009 using a framework that allows us to separate the contributions of taxes and benefits to overall income redistribution. Furthermore, we identify the effect of tax-transfer policy reforms on changes in income redistribution over the period by controlling for changes in the distribution of market incomes. We find that after reaching a peak value in the late 1990s, the redistributive impact of taxes and transfers steadily declined. Although reforms to the tax-transfer system contributed to the decline in redistribution, their contribution was limited.

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  • Taxes and transfers, income inequality, progressivity, redistributive effect