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Would Cutting Payroll Taxes on the Unskilled Have a Significant Effect on Unemployment?

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  • B Bell
  • Stephen Nickell

Abstract

This paper states two recommendations from an OECD Report: (1) "Reduce non-wage labour costs, especially in Europe, by reducing taxes on labourà" (2) "Reduce direct taxes (social security and income taxes) on those with low earningsà". After looking at the first recommendation we conclude that any attempt to generate a significant reduction in the unemployment rate by cutting across-the-board tax rates on employment is likely to fail. We then turn to the second recommendation and give three arguments as to why it may be a good idea. The remainder of the paper investigates the arguments. We look at why the unemployment rate of the unskilled might be higher than that of the skilled, and how we might expect their relative unemployment rates to respond both to relative demand shocks and to more natural shocks. We then examine the facts - what has happened to relative unemployment (and non-employment) rates, and wage rates throughout the OECD. Finally, we discuss the implications of these facts for the proposed policy measures.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0276.

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Date of creation: Feb 1996
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0276

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. Steven J. Davis, 1992. "Cross-Country Patterns of Change in Relative Wages," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 239-300 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 1995. "The Wage Curve," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026202375x, December.
  3. Berman, Eli & Bound, John & Griliches, Zvi, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-97, May.
  4. Banerjee, Anindya & Dolado, Juan J. & Galbraith, John W. & Hendry, David, 1993. "Co-integration, Error Correction, and the Econometric Analysis of Non-Stationary Data," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288107, October.
  5. 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.
  6. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 2005. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199279173, October.
  7. Nickell, Stephen J, 1987. "Why Is Wage Inflation in Britain So High?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 49(1), pages 103-28, February.
  8. Knoester, Anthonie & van der Windt, Nico, 1987. "Real Wages and Taxation in Ten OECD Countries," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 49(1), pages 151-69, February.
  9. Banerjee, Anindya, et al, 1986. "Exploring Equilibrium Relationships in Econometrics through Static Models: Some Monte Carlo Evidence," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 48(3), pages 253-77, August.
  10. Johansen, Soren, 1988. "Statistical analysis of cointegration vectors," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 231-254.
  11. Chinhui Juhn & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 1991. "Why Has the Natural Rate of Unemployment Increased over Time?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 75-142.
  12. Engle, Robert F & Granger, Clive W J, 1987. "Co-integration and Error Correction: Representation, Estimation, and Testing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 251-76, March.
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