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Tax redistribution offset? Effect of marital choices on income inequality

This paper examines the relationship between marital sorting and income inequality in Switzerland using individual tax data. We find that assortative mating intensifies at the tails of the income distribution. High and low earners specifically tend to marry alike. This pattern is exacerbating household income inequality – the Gini coefficient increases by more than 10% and the top 1% share by around 5% compared to random matching. By comparison, we show that the redistributive impact of marital sorting offsets the effect induced by taxation for most of the top income quintile. However, tax dominates the opposing mating redistribution from the top 5% income share.

Autor: Manuela Leuenberger

Datum: 30. November 2021