The American Enterprise

Taxing family life.(the Digest: Summaries of important new research)(Brief Article)

Rebecca O'Neill, "Fiscal Policy and the Family: How the Family Fares in France, Germany and the U.K.," Civitas, August 2005 (

It's conventional wisdom among Europeans that tax policy should promote equality between rich and poor citizens. In this report, economist Rebecca O'Neill crunches the numbers to see how taxes and benefits combine to affect a number of different family types in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

O'Neill finds very different outcomes, reflecting differing assumptions behind the three countries' policies. France strongly encourages childbirth. Germany emphasizes the importance of marriage. The United Kingdom "has striven to be explicitly neutral in terms of family policy, and to focus on reducing child poverty by means of income transfers. …

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