Differentiated taxation by gender: a proposal that is always current and never implemented

For years there has been talk of differentiated taxation by gender: the proposal has never been applied, but year after year it remains relevant. And the latest ISTAT data on female employment also demonstrates this

Predict one preferential taxation on women’s work to promotefemale employment and improve the distribution of the workload within families: this is the proposal made by economists Andrea Ichino of the European University Institute and Alberto Alesina of Harvard University about 15 years ago.

There gender tax, gender-differentiated taxation, has never been implemented. After more than a decade, however, it still remains relevant. And they prove it data on women’s participation in the labor market.

Where does the proposal for gender-differentiated taxation come from?

In a nutshell, the gender tax aims to tax men and women differentlyproviding for a higher tax rate for the former in order to make the tax more favorable female work.

The idea encounters a series of critical issues, one above all principle of equality enshrined in Article 3 of the Constitution, and this is also why it has never seen the light, although it has been talked about since 2007.

The relevant aspect is that, beyond the assessments on the applicability of taxation differentiated by gender, the origin and purpose with which the proposal was born still remains a crucial question.

In other words: there is not much, or not only, to observe solution proposal, as the problem to solve.

Alesina and Ichino formulated the hypothesis of a gender tax by observing a context in which the division of roles is “unbalanced due to historically induced gender roles”, as stated in the study “Gender Based Taxation and the Division of Family Chores”, it also affects the participation to the women’s world of work.

Because the proposal for gender-differentiated taxation remains current

Years later, one still remains to be formulated effective strategy to shorten the gaps between genders on the labor market, and this is also demonstrated by the latest ISTAT findings published on 9 January 2024.

In November 2023 the male employment rate is equal to 70.8 percentwhile that femalealthough it is increasing, stops at 52.9 percent with a difference of 17.9 points.

Even more relevant are the data concerning the inactive women, those that cannot be classified either as busy neither unemployedthat is, who have not carried out even an active job search action in the four weeks preceding the period analyzed and who are not available to work within the following two weeks.

While the female inactivity rate surpasses the 42 percentthe men’s one stops at 24.

These two figures are enough to outline a clearly unbalanced employment picture between men and women who still make the proposal of a reverse imbalanceand therefore in favor of women, in the taxation model.

On the other hand, if on the one hand the idea of ​​a gender tax appears difficult to apply, on the other hand there are no doubts about the impact of the tax on female employment, as the study also demonstrates Women, Labor markets and economic growth, 2023 presented by the Bank of Italy last June.

By analyzing taxation and benefits in force in Italy, the study reaches a clear conclusion: the Italian system penalizes the second income earner within the family who is usually a woman.