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The impact of differential payroll tax subsidies on minimum wage employment

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  • Kramarz, Francis
  • Philippon, Thomas

Abstract

In this article, we study the impact of changes of total labor costs on employment of low-wage workers in France in a period, 1990 to 1998, that saw sudden and large changes in these costs. We use longitudinal data from the French Labor Force survey (« enquête emploi ») in order to understand the consequences of real decreases and real increases of the labor cost. We examine the transition probabilities from employment to non-employment and from non-employment to employment. In particular, we compare the transition probabilities of the workers that were directly affected by the changes ("between" workers) with the transition probabilities of workers closest in the wage distribution to those directly affected ("marginal" workers). In all years with an increasing minimum cost, the "between" group (or the treated using the vocabulary of controlled experiments) comprises all workers whose costs in year t lie between the old (year t) and the new (year $1) minimum. In all years with a decreasing minimum, the "between" group comprises all workers whose costs in year t+1 lie between the present minimum cost (year t+1) and the old (year t) minimum cost. The results can be summarized as follows. Comparing years of increasing minimum cost and decreasing minimum cost, difference-in-difference estimates imply that an increase of 1% of the cost implies roughly an increase of 1.5% in the probability of transiting from employment to non-employment for the treated workers, the resulting elasticity being -1.5. Second, results for the transitions from non-employment to employment are less clear-cut. Tax subsidies have a small and insignificant impact on entry"marginal" group constitutes a good control group. In addition, there is no obvious evidence of substitution between the "between" and "marginal" groups of workers, but there is some evidence of substitution between workers within the tax subsidy zone, with wage
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Suggested Citation

  • Kramarz, Francis & Philippon, Thomas, 2001. "The impact of differential payroll tax subsidies on minimum wage employment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 115-146, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:82:y:2001:i:1:p:115-146
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 772-793, September.
    2. Charles Brown & Curtis Gilroy & Andrew Kohen, 1982. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 0846, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & Thomas Lemieux & David N. Margolis, 2000. "Minimum Wages and Youth Employment in France and the United States," NBER Chapters,in: Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries, pages 427-472 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    6. Brown, Charles, 1999. "Minimum wages, employment, and the distribution of income," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 32, pages 2101-2163 Elsevier.
    7. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1997. "A Reanalysis of the Effect of the New Jersey Minimum Wage Increase on the Fast-Food Industry with Representative Payroll Data," Working Papers 772, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    8. Janet Currie & Bruce C. Fallick, 1996. "The Minimum Wage and the Employment of Youth Evidence from the NLSY," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 404-428.
    9. Brown, Charles & Gilroy, Curtis & Kohen, Andrew, 1982. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 487-528, June.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand

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