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Taxation, Public Policy, and Dynamics of Unemployment

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  • Joseph Stiglitz

Abstract

This paper provides an overview of the key issues relating to taxation, public policy and the dynamics of unemployment.It takes issue with the widely held view that generous social insurance schemes and the associated highpayroll taxes have been the major cause of the high unemployment rates which have persisted in Europe over thepast 15 years. It puts forward a framework for a theory of adjustment, based on the portfolio theory of the riskaverse firm and the efficiency wage theory of labor markets. This is used to explain why in the onset of a downturn,the hiring rate may lag the layoff rate, thus giving rise to rising unemployment rates. It is also shown to provideguidance as to policies which enhance the ability of firms to bear risks and which reduce costs of hiring and firing.The paper argues that while policies which increase severance or layoff costs may be well intended they mayactually serve to exacerbate the magnitude of employment fluctuations. Similarly, unemployment compensation,which is designed to ease the burden on those who are unemployed, may lead to higher levels of equilibriumunemployment. These programs can be restructured in ways which simultaneously ease the short-run burden ofthose thrown into unemployment, while reducing the adverse impact of these programs on the unemployment rate. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal International Tax and Public Finance.

Volume (Year): 6 (1999)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 239-262

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Handle: RePEc:kap:itaxpf:v:6:y:1999:i:3:p:239-262

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102915

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Keywords: unemployment; taxation; public policy;

References

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  1. Wang, Cheng & Williamson, Steve, 1996. "Unemployment Insurance with Moral Hazard in a Dynamic Economy," Staff General Research Papers 5088, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. Gary D. Hansen & Ayse Imrohoroglu, 1990. "The Role of Unemployment Insurance in an Economy with Liquidity Constraints and Moral Hazard," UCLA Economics Working Papers 583, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicholas S., 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 187-221, June.
  4. Williamson, S. & Wang, C., 1995. "Unemployment Insurance with Moral Hazard in a Dynamic Economy," Working Papers 95-09, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
  5. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1987. "Pareto efficient and optimal taxation and the new new welfare economics," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 15, pages 991-1042 Elsevier.
  6. Myers, Stewart C. & Majluf, Nicolás S., 1945-, 1984. "Corporate financing and investment decisions when firms have information that investors do not have," Working papers 1523-84., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  7. Stewart C. Myers & Nicholas S. Majluf, 1984. "Corporate Financing and Investment Decisions When Firms Have InformationThat Investors Do Not Have," NBER Working Papers 1396, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Atkeson Andrew & Lucas Jr. , Robert E., 1995. "Efficiency and Equality in a Simple Model of Efficient Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 64-88, June.
  9. Greenwald, Bruce C & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1995. "Labor-Market Adjustments and the Persistence of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 219-25, May.
  10. Bruce C. Greenwald & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1988. "Examining Alternative Macroeconomic Theories," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(1), pages 207-270.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jaakko Kiander & Juha Kilponen & Jouko Vilmunen, 2000. "Taxes, Growth and Unemployment in the OECD Countries - Does Collective Bargaininig Matter?," Discussion Papers 235, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
  2. Boone, Jan & Bovenberg, Lans, 2002. "Optimal labour taxation and search," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 53-97, July.
  3. Joseph Stiglitz & Jungyoll Yun, 2002. "Integration of Unemployment Insurance with Retirement Insurance," NBER Working Papers 9199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Robin Boadway & Katherine Cuff & Nicolas Marceau, 1999. "Inter-Jurisdictional Competition for Firms: Jobs as Vehicles for Redistribution," Working Papers 986, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  5. Wiepke Wissema & Rob Dellink, 2010. "AGE assessment of interactions between climate change policy instruments and pre-existing taxes: the case of Ireland," International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 10(1/2), pages 46-62.
  6. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2002. "New perspectives on public finance: recent achievements and future challenges," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(3), pages 341-360, December.
  7. Riedl, Arno & van Winden, Frans, 2007. "An experimental investigation of wage taxation and unemployment in closed and open economies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(4), pages 871-900, May.
  8. Alfonso Arpaia & Giuseppe Carone, 2004. "Do labour taxes (and their composition) affect wages in the short and the long run? - Alfonso Arpaia and Giuseppe Carone," European Economy - Economic Papers 216, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  9. Boadway, Robin & Cuff, Katherine & Marceau, Nicolas, 2003. "Redistribution and employment policies with endogenous unemployment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(11), pages 2407-2430, October.
  10. 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.
  11. Goerke, Laszlo & Madsen, Jakob B., 2003. "Earnings-related unemployment benefits and unemployment," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 41-62, March.
  12. Goerke, Laszlo & Madsen, Jakob B., 2003. "Earnings-Related Unemployment Benefits in a Unionised Economy," IZA Discussion Papers 701, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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