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Skill shortages and labor market outcomes in Central Europe

  • Brixiova, Zuzana
  • Li, Wenli
  • Yousef, Tarik

The new Central European members of the EU have been characterized by low employment rates, especially among unskilled workers, despite the GDP recoveries and large private sector shares in output and employment. Evidence points at skill shortages in Central Europe as a key impediment to faster labor reallocation and convergence to the EU-15 employment structures. In this paper, we develop a simple model of labor reallocation with transaction costs and show how skill shortages can inhibit firm creation and increase income inequality. We use the model to examine the impact of training subsidies and their financing on skill acquisition and start-ups of new private firms, and show that the positive effect of subsidies would be mostly offset by high wage taxes. Shifting financing from wage to consumption taxes would improve incentives for workers' training and firm start-ups, while relying more on income taxes could reduce the income gap between workers and entrepreneurs.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economic Systems.

Volume (Year): 33 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 45-59

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecosys:v:33:y:2009:i:1:p:45-59
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