Friday, April 9, 2021
Yvette Lind (Copenhagen Business School; Google Scholar) & Åsa Gunnarsson (University of Umea), Gender Equality, Taxation, and the COVID-19 Recovery: A Study of Sweden and Denmark, 101 Tax Notes Int'l 581 (Feb. 1, 2021):
The impact of COVID-19 is at the moment undeniably extensive as the world faces the most severe recession in nearly a century. Economic emergency programs, the design and implementation of COVID-19 tax policies and subsequent state aid actions have been launched in many countries to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Women have, in comparison to men, also reduced their hours of work to care for, and home school, children. Aggregating already existing problems associated to both the loss of paid work hours and to the gender-segregated allocation of unpaid hours for household work and caring. The sudden closure of childcare programs and schools in many countries has had a crucial impact for women whose labour force participation depends on these institutions. The possibility of several waves of the virus that could trigger additional childcare closures make it extremely likely that married women (in general when considering the current norm of heterosexual couples) in particular may be slower to re-enter the work force in the hope of protecting the (single-breadwinner) family income.
The ambition with this paper is to tackle the complexity of both new and old societal challenges for the realization of gender equality obligations through tax provisions and tax policies at the national level.
As these judicial issues are highly country-specific, we have chosen to make a study that compares Denmark and Sweden to illustrate ongoing challenges and the differing ways individual countries may choose to tackle them. Both Sweden and Denmark have historical roots in the formation of the so-called Nordic welfare state model based on egalitarian and communitarian ideas.
Through our study, we argue that the financial recovery needs to implement a human rights perspective on tax justice, which concentrate on the resourcing of rights such as resource mobilization, redistribution, regulations, representation and accountability. Our hope is that in times of crisis, an opportunity of re-considerations will open. The fact that the world needs strong, well-targeted fiscal support to recover can efficiently pave the way for new tax policy directions.