Welfare analysis and redistributive policies

Publication type:

Journal Article


Olivier Bargain

Publication date

15 Dec 2017


Applied welfare analyses of redistributive systems nowadays benefit from powerful tax-benefit microsimulation programs combined with administrative data. Arguably, most of the distributional studies of that kind focus on social welfare defined as a function – typically inequality or poverty indices – of household equivalized income. In parallel, economic research has made considerable progress in the measurement of welfare along several dimensions. Distinct but related branches of the literature have attempted (i) to model different behavior (in a way that matter for incidence and redistribution of tax-benefit policies), (ii) to go beyond income, (iii) to better define and estimate equivalence scales, (iv) to open the household black box and measure welfare at the individual level. I suggest a general framework to critically review these streams of literatures and to discuss whether recent advances in each of these fields have been or could be readily operationalized in welfare analyses and policy simulations.

Published in

The Journal of Economic Inequality






Economics, Public Policy, Welfare Benefits, Microsimulation and Taxation


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