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Earnings Determination and Taxes: Evidence from a Cohort-Based Payroll Tax Reform in Greece

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  • Saez, Emmanuel
  • Matsaganis, Manos
  • Tsakloglou, Panos

Abstract

This paper analyzes the response of earnings to payroll tax rates using a cohort-based reform in Greece. All individuals who started working on or after 1993 face permanently a much higher earnings cap for payroll taxes, creating a large and permanent discontinuity in marginal payroll tax rates by date of entry in the labor force for upper earnings workers. Using full population administrative Social Security data and a Regression Discontinuity Design, we estimate the long-term incidence and effects of marginal payroll tax rates on earnings. Standard theory predicts that, in the long run, new regime workers should bear the entire burden of the payroll tax increase (relative to old regime workers). In contrast, we find that employers compensate new regime workers for the extra employer payroll taxes but not for the extra employee payroll taxes. We do not find any evidence of labor supply responses around the discontinuity, suggesting low efficiency costs of payroll taxes. The non-standard incidence results are the same across firms of different sizes. Tax incidence, however, is standard for older workers in the new regime as they bear both the employee and employer tax. Those results, combined with a direct small survey of employers, can be explained by social norms regarding seniority-based pay which create a growing wedge between pay and productivity as workers age.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley in its series Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series with number qt5fr6354g.

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Date of creation: 02 Feb 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt5fr6354g

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Cited by:
  1. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Camille Landais & Esben Schultz, 2013. "Migration and Wage Effects of Taxing Top Earners: Evidence from the Foreigners' Tax Scheme in Denmark," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 333-378.
  2. Kopczuk, Wojciech & Marion, Justin & Muehlegger, Erich & Slemrod, Joel, 2013. "Do the Laws of Tax Incidence Hold? Point of Collection and the Pass-Through of State Diesel Taxes," Working Paper Series rwp13-027, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  3. Pestel, Nico & Sommer, Eric, 2013. "Shifting Taxes from Labor to Consumption: Efficient, but Regressive?," IZA Discussion Papers 7804, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Etienne Lehmann & François Marical & Laurence Rioux, 2012. "Labor Income Responds Differently to Income-Tax and Payroll-Tax Reforms," CESifo Working Paper Series 3974, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Camille Landais & Emmanuel Saez, 2013. "Taxation and International Migration of Superstars: Evidence from the European Football Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1892-1924, August.
  6. Doerrenberg, Philipp & Duncan, Denvil, 2014. "Tax Incidence in the Presence of Tax Evasion," IZA Discussion Papers 8137, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Lehmann, Etienne & Marical, François & Rioux, Laurence, 2011. "Labor Earnings Respond Differently to Income-Tax and to Payroll-Tax Reforms," IZA Discussion Papers 6108, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Frías, Judith A & Kumler, Todd & Verhoogen, Eric A, 2013. "Enlisting Employees in Improving Payroll-Tax Compliance: Evidence from Mexico," CEPR Discussion Papers 9622, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Pia Rattenhuber, 2012. "Marginal Taxes: A Good or a Bad for Wages?: The Incidence of the Structure of Income and Labor Taxes on Wages," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1193, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

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