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Taxation and the Structure of Labor Markets: The Case of Corporatism

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  • Summers, Lawrence H
  • Gruber, Jonathan
  • Vergara, Rodrigo

Abstract

The authors propose an explanation for the wide variation in rates of taxation across developed economies, based on differences in labor market institutions. In 'corporatist' economies, which feature centralized labor markets, taxes on labor input will be less distortionary than when labor supply is determined individually. Since the level of labor supply is set by a small group of decisionmakers, these individuals will recognize the linkage between the taxes that workers pay and the benefits that they receive. Labor tax burdens are indeed higher in more corporatist nations, while nonlabor taxes are actually lower. There is also some evidence that the distortionary effects of labor taxes are lower in more corporatist economies. Copyright 1993, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 108 (1993)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 385-411

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:108:y:1993:i:2:p:385-411

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  1. Gordon, Robert J. & Gordon, Robert J., 1987. "Productivity, wages, and prices inside and outside of manufacturing in the U.S., Japan, and Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 685-733, April.
  2. MaCurdy, Thomas E & Pencavel, John H, 1986. "Testing between Competing Models of Wage and Employment Determination in Unionized Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages S3-S39, June.
  3. Bean, C R & Layard, P R G & Nickell, S J, 1986. "The Rise in Unemployment: A Multi-country Study," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 53(210(S)), pages S1-22, Supplemen.
  4. Card, David, 1990. "Unexpected Inflation, Real Wages, and Employment Determination in Union Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 669-88, September.
  5. Robert J. Barro, 1989. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," NBER Working Papers 3120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1981. "Wage Bargaining and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 896-908, December.
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