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Is Tax Progression Good for Employment? Efficiency Wages and the Role of the Prereform Tax Structure

Author

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  • Erkki Koskela
  • Ronnie Schöb

Abstract

Within an efficiency-wage framework, we study the effects of two revenue-neutral tax reforms that change the progressivity of the labor tax system. A revenue-neutral increase in both the wage tax and the tax exemption and a revenue-neutral change in the composition of labor taxation towards the tax with the smaller base will lead to the same results: they moderate wages, workers´ effort, effective labor input, and aggregate output. Whether employment rises or falls, however, depends in both reforms on the magnitude of the prereform total tax wedge. We show that this ambiguity stems from the effect tax progression has on the marginal revenue changes of tax and tax exemption changes. This budgetary effect determines the result in the same way in both tax reforms and turns out to be the crucial force in determining the effect the degree of tax progressivity has on employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Erkki Koskela & Ronnie Schöb, 2009. "Is Tax Progression Good for Employment? Efficiency Wages and the Role of the Prereform Tax Structure," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 65(1), pages 51-72, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(200903)65:1_51:itpgfe_2.0.tx_2-3 DOI: 10.1628/001522108X444206
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Barr, Nicholas, 1993. "Alternative funding resources for higher education," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 280, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman, 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post--secondary Schooling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 705-734, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Diane Aubert & Mireille Chiroleu-Assouline, 2017. "Environmental Tax Reform and Income Distribution with Imperfect Heterogeneous Labor Markets," PSE Working Papers halshs-01550000, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    efficiency wages; tax progression; structure of labor taxation;

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J48 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Particular Labor Markets; Public Policy

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