Tax and benefit policies in the enlarged Europe

Assessing the impact with microsimulation models


A. B. Atkinson, M.Cok, F. Figari, P. Hegedüs, H. Immervoll, S. Kralik, N. Kump, H. Levy, C. Lietz, D. Mantovani, L. Morawski, M. Myck, P. Pashardes, A. Paulus, A. Polycarpou, L. Salanauskaite, H. Sutherland, P. Szivós, G.Verbist, A. Vörk


O. Lelkes & H. Sutherland




Lelkes, O. & Sutherland, H. (Eds.) (2009). Tax and Benefit Policies in the Enlarged Europe: Assessing the Impact with Microsimulation Models, Public Policy and Social Welfare 35. Farnham (UK): Ashgate.


This book is one of the first systematic collections of studies based on the European tax-benefit microsimulation model, and thus a synthesis of the scientific work of researchers from more than a dozen of countries for over a decade.

The chapter by Sir Anthony Atkinson sets a context for EUROMOD in EU policy-making and provides an insightful assessment of the policy processes. Prof Holly Sutherland's contribution describes the past, present and future of EUROMOD.

The book provides novel analysis on the impact of tax and benefit systems on individuals' incomes and work incentives. Not only actual policies are assessed, but hypothetical scenarios of interest to policy-makers as well, for example the introduction of flat taxes. The special feature of many chapters is that they are based on a comparative tax-benefit microsimulation model, EUROMOD, thus allowing a systematic and consistent comparison of countries. In addition to the 15 "old" member states of the European Union, the model has been recently enlarged to Estonia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia, thus allowing a wider range of comparisons.

Another part of the chapters presents analysis based on national tax-benefit models in Cyprus and Lithuania, providing a selection of exemplary and innovative studies, and demonstrating the power of the microsimulation method for policy analysis. The concluding chapter by Herwig Immervoll and Orsolya Lelkes explores future priorities for tax-benefit modelling.

The central premise of the book is that optimal policy decisions need to be informed by detailed empirical evidence, and it provides a powerful presentation on how complex information on the interaction of specific tax and cash benefit policy instruments can be presented in a concise and comprehensible way.