National Tax Journal

Effects of Adjusting Distribution Tables for Family Size

Julie-Anne Cronin, Portia DeFilippes, and Emily Y. Lin

65 National Tax Journal 739-58 (December 2012)

Abstract:

This paper examines how adjusting for family size in distributional analysis affects the distribution of tax burdens. We find that average tax rates for low-income families fall and average tax rates for some high-income families rise when the measured ability to pay is adjusted for family size, and that there is less variation in average rates for middle-income families. We also find that the family size adjustment affects the distribution of certain tax expenditures. In a separate analysis, we measure the equivalence scale for families of four relative to single taxpayers implied by the individual tax code.

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