Evaluation Model for Integrated Tax and Transfer Policy Analyses (ZEW-EviSTA)
For many years, ZEW Mannheim has been advising public institutions on distributional effects and the design of taxes and transfers using the Evaluation Model for Integrated Tax and Transfer Policy Analyses (ZEW-EviSTA). Recently, a new website dedicated to ZEW-EviSTA has been launched, which provides an introduction to the model, presents current research results and provides facts and figures on the German tax and transfer system.
“ZEW-EviSTA is an important tool to help citizens make sense of often difficult-to-understand interrelationships and to translate them as well as possible into concrete figures. In this way, it contributes to transparency and well-informed democratic decision-making,” says Professor Holger Stichnoth, head of ZEW’s “Inequality and Public Policy” Group, regarding the model that is constantly being further developed by his team. With the new website, the ZEW-EviSTA team wants to better inform the public about the most important questions regarding tax and transfer policy and their respective distributional outcomes.
The goal: to provide a reliable picture of inequality based on scientific results
The team analyses tax and social policy measures with regard to their distributional effects. The aim is to enrich the often controversial public debate on the topic of inequality with robust scientific findings based on well-founded empirical studies, especially on questions regarding the distributional effects of policy measures. With their analyses, the group provides a sound basis for economic policy recommendations. The focus of their work is on the measurement of inequality, the analysis of distributional and efficiency effects of taxes and social transfers as well as demographic and gender-specific aspects of inequality. At ZEW Mannheim, there is a long tradition of tax and transfer microsimulation models for this purpose. Since 2019, the model bears the official name ZEW-EviSTA. ZEW team member Michael Hebsaker oversees the model, which is constantly being developed and adapted to current legislation and data under his leadership. ZEW-EviSTA is used to estimate the costs and distributional effects of the tax and transfer system in Germany. The model can also be used to estimate the effects of reforms and the resulting labour market effects. In addition to distributional outcomes, it also allows the analysis of the impact of reforms on public budgets.
Popular source of information
ZEW-EviSTA is regularly used in advising federal ministries and other institutions as well as in cooperation with media partners. One highlight was the cooperation with Süddeutsche Zeitung on the distributional effects of party programmes in the 2021 German federal election. The ZEW figures met with a great response and became a recurring topic of discussion in the election campaign. The distributional effects of the coalition agreement were also examined – as they were in the 2017 election.