Thursday, March 9, 2023
Joel Slemrod (Michigan; Google Scholar) presented Two (Short) Papers About Gender Equity In The U.S. Income Tax at UCLA on Wednesday as part of its Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance hosted by Kirk Stark and Jason Oh:
Who’s On (the 1040) First? Determinants and Consequences of Spouses’ Name Order on Joint Returns (with Emily Lin (Office of Tax Analysis, U.S. Treasury Department), Evelyn Smith (Michigan) & Alexander Yuskavage (Office of Tax Analysis, U.S. Treasury Department)):
Married couples filing a joint return put the male name first 88.1% of the time in tax year 2020, down from 97.3% in 1996. The man’s name is more likely to go first the larger is the fraction of the couple’s allocable income that goes to him, and the older is the couple. Based on state averages, putting the man’s name first is strongly associated with conservative religious attitudes, religiosity, and a survey-based measure of sexist attitudes. Risk-taking and tax noncompliance are both associated with the man’s name going first.
For more, see Wall Street Journal, Whose Name Goes First On Your Joint Tax Return? Probably Not The Woman's.
Group Equity and Implicit Gender Discrimination in the U.S. Income Tax:
Unmarried women face a significantly lower tax rate than unmarried men, 6.3% versus 10.9%, largely due to their greater use of the earned income and child tax credits. Some of the difference arises because women have lower income on average and the tax system is progressive, but that explains less than half of the difference. This gender tax disparity could be justified either by externalities generated by women’s higher average commitment to child care or by efficiency arguments. Future research should focus on determining whether these effects could justify the extent and nature of the gender tax rate differential.