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Tax-benefits reforms and the labor market: evidence from Belgium and other EU countries

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  • Kristian Orsini

Abstract

During the last decade, several EU countries have tried to tackle unemployment and low activity rates through extensive tax cuts. In an effort to encourage the taking up of work – especially amongst the less productive workers – policymakers have shown increasing interest in targeted tax and social security contribution rebates as well as in benefits conditional on being in employment. This paper surveys recent tax-benefit reforms in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, the UK, France and Belgium, focussing in particular on the reforms carried out in the latter. The potential labor supply effect of the Belgian reforms are assessed via a discrete hours labor supply model. The results are then compared to similar evaluations of reforms implemented in the aforementioned countries. Results suggest than: (i) generalized tax cut are not always effective in stimulating labor supply; (ii) in several central continental Europe, social security contributions play a major role in determining the incentives to take up work; (iii) joint assessment of income for both purposes of taxation and benefit eligibility has unambiguous negative effects on the labor supply of secondary earners (i.e. mostly women); (iv) targeted reductions in taxes and social security contributions, as well as benefits conditioned on employment are effective means to promote employment, but (v) efficient design of these policies is of greatest importance in order to counter potential negative incentive effects on the population already in employment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën in its series Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers with number ces0606.

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Date of creation: Mar 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ete:ceswps:ces0606

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Related research

Keywords: Tax-benefit Systems – Microsimulation – Household Labour Supply – Multinomial Logit.;

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Cited by:
  1. Marco Caliendo & Katharina Wrohlich, 2006. "Evaluating the German "Mini-Job" Reform Using a True Natural Experiment," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 569, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Kristian Orsini, 2007. "Is Belgium "Making Work Pay" ?," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 50(2), pages 193-220.
  3. Olivier Bargain & Christina Orsini & Andreas Peichl, 2013. "Comparing Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the US: New Results," AMSE Working Papers 1321, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France.
  4. Olivier Bargain & Andreas Peichl, 2013. "Steady-State Labor Supply Elasticities: An International Comparison," Working Papers halshs-00805744, HAL.
  5. Bargain, Olivier & Peichl, Andreas, 2013. "Steady-state labor supply elasticities: A survey," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-084, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  6. Marco Caliendo & Katharina Wrohlich, 2010. "Evaluating the German 'Mini-Job' reform using a natural experiment," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(19), pages 2475-2489.
  7. Bargain, Olivier & Orsini, Kristian & Peichl, Andreas, 2011. "Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the US," IZA Discussion Papers 5820, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Tibor Hanappi & Sandra Müllbacher, 2012. "Tax Incentives and Family Labor Supply in Austria," NRN working papers 2012-12, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.

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