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  3. PhD Research position (1,0 fte) on the policies of taxing pension income

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PhD Research position (1,0 fte) on the policies of taxing pension income

The Tilburg School of Economics and Management (TiSEM) has a PhD position in Tax Economics and Public Finance available (4 years). The Fiscal Institute Tilburg (FIT) is looking for a PhD researcher interested to examine the economic effects of policies of taxing pension income.

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Arbeidsvoorwaarden

Standplaats:
Warandelaan, Tilburg, Noord-Brabant
Dienstverband:
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
40 - 40 uur
Salarisindicatie:
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand
Opleidingsniveau:
WO

Functieomschrijving

The job

The Fiscal Institute Tilburg (FIT) is looking for a PhD researcher interested to examine the economic effects of policies of taxing pension income. In the Netherlands, pension savings are implicitly subsidized as pensions are subject to low income tax rates, pension wealth is untaxed and pension contributions are tax deductible. This pension subsidy may have various economic effects: upon capital markets, labour markets, public finances and the income and wealth distribution. The subsidy may also affect economic welfare: the subsidy might be smaller or larger than would be optimal.
 

The aim of this project is to gain more insight into the size of the implicit pension subsidies and their economic, distributional and welfare effects. It can be decomposed into a descriptive part, an empirical part and a modelling part. See below for a more detailed job description.
 

This project brings together economic theory (like that of public finance and welfare economics), empirics (of the elasticity of hours worked and the elasticity of taxable income) and institutional details (like that of the income taxation scheme and the pension scheme). Insights from psychology (behavioural economics) and from law (fairness) can be integrated into the analysis.


Knowledge about (modern) economic theory, empirics and institutions is vitally important for this analysis. Therefore, the PhD student will be supervised by people with a background in public finance and tax economics.

In particular, the successful candidate for this project is expected to:

  • undertake research alone or with the supervisors;
  • be an active member of FIT and TISEM, especially by organizing and participating in events and activities, and presenting and discussing research output regularly with the research group;
  • contribute to the courses in which FIT is involved and supervise theses.

Functie-eisen

Your profile
Applicants must have:

  • a Master’s degree in Economics, preferably a Research Master;
  • genuine interest in public finance and the economic effects of taxation;
  • strong analytical skills; experience with empirical research would be an asset (otherwise, willingness to acquire such knowledge rapidly);
  • excellent command of English both written and spoken; Dutch would also be an asset, but is not a necessary condition;
  • ambition to perform top-level research and occasionally teach, ability to work autonomously and within a team, and interest in interacting and delivering within a group in an interdisciplinary, international environment;
  • assist in the organization of high-level academic events.

Conditions

FIT provides academic education to tax lawyers and tax economist and conducts research in the field of Dutch and international taxation. It is an interfaculty institute at Tilburg University, comprising the Department of Tax Law (Tilburg Law School) and the Department of Tax Economics (TiSEM). Tilburg University is rated among the top Dutch employers and has excellent terms of employment. The appointment will be for the total of 48 months. The selected candidate will initially be appointed for 16 months, with an extension for the following 32 months on the basis of a positive evaluation. The evaluation will take place after 12 months.

The selected candidate will be ranked in the Dutch university employment system (UFO). The starting gross salary is € 2.325,-  per month (for a full-time appointment)  in the first year, up € 2.972,- in the final year. There is a holiday allowance (8% in May), and end-of-year bonus (8.3% in December). All university employees are covered by the so-called civil servants pension fund (ABP). Researchers from outside the Netherlands may qualify for a tax-free allowance equal to 30% of their taxable salary. The university will apply for such an allowance on their behalf. The university offers very good fringe benefits (it is one of the best non-profit employers in the Netherlands), such as an options model for terms and conditions of employment and excellent reimbursement of moving expenses.

Contract type
Fixed-term, 1.0 FTE for 4 years.

Additional information

More detailed job description
In the Netherlands, pension savings are implicitly subsidized as pensions are subject to low income tax rates, pension wealth is untaxed and pension contributions are tax deductible. This pension subsidy may have various economic effects: upon capital markets, labour markets, public finances and the income and wealth distribution. The subsidy may also affect economic welfare: the subsidy might be smaller or larger than would be optimal.

The aim of this project is to gain more insight into the size of the implicit pension subsidies and their economic, distributional and welfare effects. It can be decomposed into a descriptive part, an empirical part and a modelling part. As to the descriptive part, the size of the subsidies is largely unknown, in particular after the most recent tax reform. Similarly, we do not know how the size of this subsidy differs with respect to the interest rate and a person’s income and wealth position. A thorough investigation of this issue is of vital importance to understand the economic and distributional effects of the pension subsidy.

As regards the empirical part, an econometric analysis with micro data can shed light on the labour supply effects of the subsidy. In particular, one can compare the labour supply decisions of salary workers (to whom the implicit pension subsidies apply) and those self-employed who do not participate in a pension scheme (and who thus forego these subsidies). Alternatively, a comparison of the labour supply of different wage earners may be useful as the subsidy differs between low wages and high wages. This analysis should answer the question whether the subsidy affects hours worked and, if so, how large this effect is.

The modelling part consists of constructing a stylized model of the life-cycle of workers. This model can be adopted to assess the effects of the pension subsidy on labour supply, savings and welfare. It can also be used to study alternative pension or income tax schemes. This would shed light on the effects of pension reform. To name one example, the model could be used to study the effects of a switch from taxing benefits to taxing contributions or the returns on these contributions.

This project brings together economic theory (like that of public finance and welfare economics), empirics (of the elasticity of hours worked and the elasticity of taxable income) and institutional details (like that of the income taxation scheme and the pension scheme). Insights from psychology (behavioural economics) and from law (fairness) can be integrated into the analysis.