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Do employment subsidies work? Evidence from regionally targeted subsidies in Turkey

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  • Betcherman, Gordon
  • Daysal, N. Meltem
  • Pagés, Carmen

Abstract

This paper studies the effects on registered employment and number of registered establishments of two employment subsidy schemes in Turkey. We implement a difference-in-differences methodology to construct appropriate counterfactuals for the covered provinces. Our findings suggest that both subsidy programs did lead to significant net increases in registered jobs in eligible provinces (5%-13% for the first program and 11%-15% for the second). However, the cost of the actual job creation was high because of substantial deadweight losses, particularly for the first program (47% and 78%). Because of better design features, the second subsidy program had lower, though still significant, deadweight losses (27%-46%). Although constrained by data availability, the evidence suggests that the dominant effect of subsidies was to increase social security registration of firms and workers rather than boosting total employment and economic activity. This supports the theory that in countries with weak enforcement institutions, high labor taxes on low-wage workers may lead to substantial incentives for firms and workers to operate informally.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 17 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 710-722

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:17:y:2010:i:4:p:710-722

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

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Keywords: Employment subsidies Deadweight loss Formalization Social security contributions;

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  1. Kerry Papps, 2010. "The Effects of Social Security Taxes and Minimum Wages on Employment: Evidence from Turkey," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1017, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  2. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
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  4. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Incidence of Payroll Taxation: Evidence from Chile," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S72-101, July.
  5. Gerfin, Michael & Lechner, Michael & Steiger, Heidi, 2005. "Does subsidised temporary employment get the unemployed back to work? Aneconometric analysis of two different schemes," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(6), pages 807-835, December.
  6. Emanuela Galasso & Martin Ravallion & Agustin Salvia, 2004. "Assisting the transition from workfare to work: A randomized experiment," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(1), pages 128-142, October.
  7. Girma, Sourafel & Görg, Holger & Strobl, Eric & Walsh, Frank, 2007. "Creating Jobs Through Public Subsidies: An Empirical Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 3168, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Stephen Nickell, 2004. "Employment and Taxes," CEP Discussion Papers dp0634, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  9. James J. Heckman & Carmen Pagés, 2004. "Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number heck04-1, July.
  10. David H. Autor & John J. Donohue III & Stewart J. Schwab, 2003. "The Costs of Wrongful-Discharge Laws," NBER Working Papers 9425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Evans, William N. & Lien, Diana S., 2005. "The benefits of prenatal care: evidence from the PAT bus strike," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 207-239.
  12. James J. Heckman & Carmen Pagés, 2004. "Introduction to "Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin American and the Caribbean"," NBER Chapters, in: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, pages 1-108 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Ive MARX, 2001. "Job subsidies and cuts in employers' social security contributions: The verdict of empirical evaluation studies," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 140(1), pages 69-83, 03.
  14. David H. Autor & William R. Kerr & Adriana D. Kugler, 2007. "Does Employment Protection Reduce Productivity? Evidence From US States," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(521), pages 189-217, 06.
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