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Why Governments Should Tax Mobile Capital in the Presence of Unemployment

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  • Erkki Koskela
  • Ronnie Schöb

Abstract

This paper shows that a small open economy should levy positive source-based taxes on capital income to fight involuntary unemployment and increase welfare. A revenue-neutral tax reform which increases the capital tax rate and reduces the labour tax rate will induce firms to substitute labour for capital. Even though trade unions might succeed in subsequently increasing the net-of-tax wage rate, such a tax reform will lower marginal cost of production, increase output, and reduce unemployment as long as the labour tax rate exceeds the capital tax rate if elasticity of substitution is above a critical value which is itself below one. Independent of the elasticity of substitution, the government can promote wage moderation by increasing the personal tax credit instead of reducing the labour tax rate.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics in its series EPRU Working Paper Series with number 98-08.

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Handle: RePEc:kud:epruwp:98-08

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Cited by:
  1. Koskela, Erkki & Schöb, Ronnie, 2007. "How Tax Progression Affects Effort and Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 2861, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Riedl, Arno & van Winden, Frans, 2004. "Input versus Output Taxation in an Experimental International Economy," IZA Discussion Papers 1344, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Friedrich Breyer & Andreas Haufler, 2000. "Health Care Reform: Separating Insurance from Income Redistribution," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 205, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  4. Ronnie Schöb, 2003. "The Double Dividend Hypothesis of Environmental Taxes: A Survey," CESifo Working Paper Series 946, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Erkki Koskela & Ronnie Schöb, 2005. "Optimal capital taxation in economies with unionized and competitive labour markets," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(4), pages 717-731, October.
  6. Wehke, Sven, 2009. "Union wages, hours of work and the effectiveness of partial coordination agreements," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 89-96, January.

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