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Alois Guger, Silvia Rocha-Akis
Redistribution by the State in Austria
WIFO Bulletin, 2016, 21(11), pp.100-115
Online since: 22.09.2016 0:00
In Austria, the available potential of redistribution by the state is of a scale similar to that in the Scandinavian countries, Belgium, France and Italy. In 2010, the overall tax to GDP ratio stood at 40.8 percent, 4.2 percentage points above the EU 15 average. Redistribution primarily takes place through public expenditures. Due to the regressive structure of indirect taxes and social insurance contributions, and the comparatively low weight of taxes on income and wealth, the total redistributive effect of the tax system is only modest. The redistribution effect is much larger when it comes to public welfare and public services: apart from old-age pensions, monetary transfers and benefits in kind mostly relate to the areas of health care, education and families, and are enjoyed by all households irrespective of their income. Consequently, their relative importance is much greater for low-income than for high-income households. Being more highly exposed to risks such as unemployment and illness, benefits relating to unemployment, social assistance, housing subsidies, survivor's pensions, long-term care benefits, as well as some family benefits such as the child-care allowance and the public child care infrastructure are typically taken up more frequently by low-income households for whom they constitute a substantial part of their income. Between 2000 and 2010, the distribution of primary incomes (market incomes and old-age pensions) became substantially more unequal, especially in the second half of the decade – a development that was not offset by the state's redistribution efforts. Thus, the distribution of secondary household incomes (primary incomes plus monetary and in-kind public transfers, net of all direct and indirect taxes), which had remained relatively stable between 2000 and 2005, was found to be more unequal in 2010 than in the mid-2000s.
Keywords:Redistribution, distribution of effective tax burden, distribution of monetary and in-kind public benefits, EU-SILC, Consumer Survey, HFCS
Research group:Labour Market, Income and Social Security

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