Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Nationaløkonomisk tidsskrift,
Nationaløkonomisk Forening

Beskattes ægtefæller i Danmark optimalt?

2009, Volume 2009, issue 1, pp. 139-155

Mads Vej Andersen () and Mads Moberg Bjørnsen ()
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Mads Vej Andersen: Finansministeriet, Postal: Christiansborg Slotsplads 1, 1218 København, Danmark
Mads Moberg Bjørnsen: Finansministeriet, Postal: Christiansborg Slotsplads 1, 1218 København, Danmark

Abstract: This paper presents new empirical evidence of the jointness between married couples as well as the economic consequences of marriage in Denmark. Jointness is defined as the dependency of the labour supply decision of one spouse on the marginal or participation tax of the other spouse. Empirical calculations show that there is, in general, (weakly) positive jointness in the Danish tax and transfer system, which contradicts with new theoretical findings. This is mainly due to (1) the high income level of the couples in the sample and (2) the possibility of transferring unused tax deductions between spouses. The former implies that for most couples, the transfers – which lead to negative jointness – are already phased out. The rules that depend on the marital status of the couples contribute to the size of the economic penalty or subsidy of marriage in Denmark. Approximately 16 percentages of the married couples receive a marriage penalty. On the other hand, 40 percentages of the married couples are better of living as a married couple compared to being an unmarried cohabiting couple. Removing the possibility of transferring unused tax deductions (in the middle tax, in particular) or making the unemployment benefits dependent on spousal income are two possibilities of getting closer to the theoretical findings, as well as lowering the marriage bonus for those who are most likely to receive it.

Keywords: optimal beskatning; ægtefæller; familie økonomi

JEL-codes: A10

Language: Danish

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