Tax systems and married women’s labour force participation: a seven country comparison

Publication type

Research Paper

Series Number



Working Papers of the ESRC Research Centre on Micro-Social Change


Publication date

May 1, 1995


This paper compares the ways tax and social security systems of seven European countries treat different categories of workers, especially married women in two earner households. We will discuss the tax system and the social security system, because both have an important impact on the shape of the budget constraint of workers. Second earners are treated very differently by the various tax systems, as this paper will demonstrate. It would be very surprising if such large differences in effective tax rates did not contribute to differences in the labour supply of married women. In this article, we want to investigate the ways in which a country's different tax and social security systems (but not direct taxes) could have contributed to these differences in participation rates and differences in hours of paid work which are visible across a selection of industrialised countries.



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