Labor Market Effects of Payroll Taxes in Developing Countries: Evidence from Colombia
AbstractWe use a panel of manufacturing plants from Colombia to analyze how the rise in payroll tax rates over the 1980s and 1990s affected the labor market. Our estimates indicate that formal wages fall by between 1.4% and 2.3% as a result of a 10% rise in payroll taxes. This "less-than-full shifting" is likely to be the result of weak linkages between benefits and taxes and the presence of downward wage rigidities in Colombia. Because the costs of taxation are only partly shifted from employers to employees, employment also falls. Our results indicate that a 10% increase in payroll taxes lowered formal employment by between 4% and 5%. In addition, we find some evidence of less shifting and larger disemployment effects for production than for nonproduction workers. These results suggest that policies aimed at boosting the relative demand of less skilled workers by reducing social security taxes may be effective in Latin American countries, where minimum wages bind and benefits are often not directly linked to contributions. (c) 2009 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved..
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Economic Development and Cultural Change.
Volume (Year): 57 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (01)
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