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Do employment subsidies work? Evidence from regionally targeted subsidies in Turkey

  • Betcherman, Gordon
  • Daysal, N. Meltem
  • Pagés, Carmen

This paper studies the effects on registered employment and number of registered establishments of two employment subsidy schemes in Turkey. We implement a difference-in-differences methodology to construct appropriate counterfactuals for the covered provinces. Our findings suggest that both subsidy programs did lead to significant net increases in registered jobs in eligible provinces (5%-13% for the first program and 11%-15% for the second). However, the cost of the actual job creation was high because of substantial deadweight losses, particularly for the first program (47% and 78%). Because of better design features, the second subsidy program had lower, though still significant, deadweight losses (27%-46%). Although constrained by data availability, the evidence suggests that the dominant effect of subsidies was to increase social security registration of firms and workers rather than boosting total employment and economic activity. This supports the theory that in countries with weak enforcement institutions, high labor taxes on low-wage workers may lead to substantial incentives for firms and workers to operate informally.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 17 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 710-722

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:17:y:2010:i:4:p:710-722
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

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  1. Stephen Nickell, 2004. "Employment and Taxes," CEP Discussion Papers dp0634, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Gerfin, Michael & Lechner, Michael & Stieger, Heidi, 2002. "Does Subsidized Temporary Employment Get the Unemployed Back to Work? An Econometric Analysis of Two Different Schemes," CEPR Discussion Papers 3669, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Emanuela Galasso & Martin Ravallion & Agustin Salvia, 2004. "Assisting the transition from workfare to work: A randomized experiment," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(1), pages 128-142, October.
  4. Kerry L. Papps, 2012. "The Effects of Social Security Taxes and Minimum Wages on Employment: Evidence from Turkey," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 65(3), pages 686-707, July.
  5. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2004. "Can Labor Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 91-134, February.
  6. David H. Autor & William R. Kerr & Adriana D. Kugler, 2007. "Does Employment Protection Reduce Productivity? Evidence From US States," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(521), pages 189-217, 06.
  7. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  8. Ive MARX, 2001. "Job subsidies and cuts in employers' social security contributions: The verdict of empirical evaluation studies," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 140(1), pages 69-83, 03.
  9. Evans, William N. & Lien, Diana S., 2005. "The benefits of prenatal care: evidence from the PAT bus strike," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 207-239.
  10. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Incidence of Payroll Taxation: Evidence from Chile," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S72-101, July.
  11. Girma, Sourafel & Görg, Holger & Strobl, Eric & Walsh, Frank, 2008. "Creating jobs through public subsidies: An empirical analysis," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 1179-1199, December.
  12. James Heckman & Carmen Pages, 2003. "Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean," NBER Working Papers 10129, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. James J. Heckman & Carmen Pagés, 2004. "Introduction to "Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin American and the Caribbean"," NBER Chapters, in: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, pages 1-108 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. repec:ucn:oapubs:10197/185 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. David H. Autor & John J. Donohue III & Stewart J. Schwab, 2003. "The Costs of Wrongful-Discharge Laws," NBER Working Papers 9425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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