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Why Governments Should Tax Mobile Capital in the Presence of Unemployment

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  • Koskela Erkki

    ()
    (University of Helsinki and CESifo)

  • Schöb Ronnie

    ()
    (Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg and CESifo)

Abstract

This paper shows that a small open economy that suffers from involuntary unemployment should levy a positive source-based tax on capital income. A revenue-neutral tax reform that increases the capital tax rate and reduces the labour tax rate will induce firms to substitute labour for capital. Such a tax reform will lower the marginal cost of production, increase output, reduce unemployment, and increase domestic welfare as long as the labour tax rate exceeds the capital tax rate. The result holds even though trade unions might succeed in subsequently increasing the net-of-tax wage rate, if the elasticity of substitution between capital and labour is above a critical value (which is itself below one). Finally, and importantly, independent of the size of the elasticity of substitution, the government can promote wage moderation and reduce unemployment by increasing the personal tax credit of employed workers instead of reducing the labour tax rate.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Volume (Year): 1 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 1-22

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:contributions.1:y:2002:i:1:n:1

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Cited by:
  1. Breyer, Friedrich & Haufler, Andreas, 2000. "Health Care Reform: Separating Insurance from Income Redistribution," Munich Reprints in Economics 20114, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Ronnie Schöb, 2003. "The Double Dividend Hypothesis of Environmental Taxes: A Survey," Working Papers 2003.60, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  3. Riedl, Arno & van Winden, Frans, 2012. "Input versus output taxation in an experimental international economy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 216-232.
  4. Koskela, Erkki & Schob, Ronnie, 2002. " Optimal Factor Income Taxation in the Presence of Unemployment," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(3), pages 387-404.
  5. Stefan Boeters, 2004. "Green Tax Reform and Employment: The Interaction of Profit and Factor Taxes," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 60(2), pages 222-, August.
  6. Erkki Koskela & Ronnie Schöb, 2005. "Optimal capital taxation in economies with unionized and competitive labour markets," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(4), pages 717-731, October.
  7. Wehke, Sven, 2009. "Union wages, hours of work and the effectiveness of partial coordination agreements," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 89-96, January.
  8. Koskela, Erkki & Schöb, Ronnie, 2007. "How Tax Progression Affects Effort and Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 2861, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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