Working Papers

The Marriage Earnings Gap - Job Market Paper

with Elena Herold

What happens to earnings upon marriage? Linking administrative and survey data from Germany, we show that there is a marriage earnings gap. Even after accounting for the child penalty, women’s earnings drop by 20% after marriage. We show that the marriage earnings gap results from both the extensive margin (women stop working) and the intensive margin (women work fewer hours), but not from a decrease in hourly wages. Labor supply disincentives from joint taxation can explain about one third of the marriage earnings gap, while we find no effect for labor supply incentives from changes in divorce law. Leveraging variation in norms created by the German separation, we find that gender norms are another important driver behind the marriage earnings gap.

with Tobias Hauck - Revise and Resubmit, Journal of Public Economics

Many countries have automatic wage tax withholding systems with tax non-filing options for some taxpayers. We show that this has sizable and potentially unintended implications for effective taxation because taxes are often over-withheld. Low-income taxpayers pay more taxes than they have to be-cause they frequently do not file. Using German administrative tax data, we document that the average non-filer overpays 119€ in one year, equivalent to a 1.2 percentage point increase in the average tax rate. Non-filing acts like reverse evasion: It weakens the effective tax progressivity by increasing tax rates at the bottom of the income distribution.

Media coverage (German): Handelsblatt 

Policy report (German): Automatische Einkommensteuererstattungen zur Entlastung niedriger Einkommen. Wirtschaftsdienst 101, 956–959 (2021). 

Work in Progress

Opt-in or Opt-out? The Effect of Defaults on Public Pension Enrollment

with Tabea Bucher-Koenen and Joachim Winter)

On the effects of the child-age dependent reform of alimony in Germany

with David Koll

Lost in Deduction: Taxpayers' Mistakes when Itemizing