Gender Impact of Tax and Benefit Policies

Authors: Tim Callan , Claire Keane , Michael Savage , John R Walsh , admin , admin

Research Areas: Taxation, Welfare and Pensions

Tax and welfare policies have a major influence on the nature and extent of men?s and women?s participation in the labour market and on individual and family incomes. While the impact of such policies on the overall income distribution has been extensively studied, much less is known about the impact of tax and benefit policy on incomes by gender. This project, for the Equality Authority, will break new ground in this area by conducting a systematic gender impact assessment of tax and benefit policies. Tax and benefit rules are required to be gender-neutral, in the sense that otherwise identical men and women would receive exactly the same treatment. But on average, men and women may be affected differently by policy changes because of differences between men and women in terms of characteristics (such as family status, income and/or hours of work) which are relevant to tax liabilities and welfare entitlements. In order to identify such differences, and to understand and interpret their import, it is necessary to have a picture of the differential impacts by gender on a nationally representative sample of the population. SWITCH, the ESRI tax-benefit model, is ideally suited to this purpose and will be used in conjunction with the 2010 data from the CSO?s Survey on Income and Living Conditions to analyse the impacts of tax and welfare policies by gender.

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