Taxes, Transfers, and Canadian Income Inequality Kevin Milligan ~ Vancouver School of Economics ~ University of British Columbia

Taxes, Transfers, and Canadian Income Inequality

with Marc Frenette and David Green,
Canadian Public Policy, Vol. 35, No. 4 (December 2009), pp. 389-411.
Google Scholar entry.


In this paper, we investigate the relationship between the substantial changes in tax and transfer programs and the movements in after-tax income inequality over the 1980s and 1990s. We show that in the 1980s, tax and transfer programs became more redistributive, offsetting substantial increases in market income inequality. In the 1990s, the tax and transfer system stopped undoing the increases in market income inequality, leading after-tax income inequality to rise. Even so, tax and transfer programs were more redistributive in 2000 than in the 1980s. Much of the changes occurred at the provincial level, with social assistance payments first increasing (in the late 1980s) then decreasing (in the late 1990s) and with surtaxes on high-income earners being first imposed and subsequently removed.


Published version, December, 2009: DOI.

Earlier Draft, August, 2009: PDF.

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