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Taxation and market work: is Scandinavia an outlier?

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  • Richard Rogerson

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Abstract

This paper argues that it is essential to explicitly consider how the government spends tax revenues when assessing the effects of tax rates on aggregate hours of market work. Different forms of government spending imply different elasticities of hours of work with regard to tax rates. I illustrate the empirical importance of this point by addressing the issue of hours worked and tax rates in three sets of economies: the US, Continental Europe and Scandinavia. While tax rates are highest in Scandinavia, hours worked in Scandinavia are significantly higher than they are in Continental Europe. I argue that differences in the form of government spending can potentially account for this pattern.
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Suggested Citation

  • Richard Rogerson, 2007. "Taxation and market work: is Scandinavia an outlier?," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 32(1), pages 59-85, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:32:y:2007:i:1:p:59-85
    DOI: 10.1007/s00199-006-0164-9
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard Rogerson, 2006. "Understanding Differences in Hours Worked," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(3), pages 365-409, July.
    2. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 2-13.
    3. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Razin, Assaf & Tesar, Linda L., 1994. "Effective tax rates in macroeconomics: Cross-country estimates of tax rates on factor incomes and consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 297-323, December.
    4. Richard Rogerson, 2008. "Structural Transformation and the Deterioration of European Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 235-259, April.
    5. Francesco Daveri & Guido Tabellini, 2000. "Unemployment, growth and taxation in industrial countries," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 15(30), pages 47-104, April.
    6. Edward C. Prescott, 2006. "Nobel Lecture: The Transformation of Macroeconomic Policy and Research," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 203-235, April.
    7. Rupert, Peter & Rogerson, Richard & Wright, Randall, 1995. "Estimating Substitution Elasticities in Household Production Models," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 6(1), pages 179-193, June.
    8. Conny Olovsson, 2009. "Why Do Europeans Work So Little?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 39-61, February.
    9. Steven J. Davis & Magnus Henrekson, 2004. "Tax Effects on Work Activity, Industry Mix and Shadow Economy Size: Evidence from Rich-Country Comparisons," NBER Working Papers 10509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. McGrattan, Ellen R & Rogerson, Richard & Wright, Randall, 1997. "An Equilibrium Model of the Business Cycle with Household Production and Fiscal Policy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(2), pages 267-290, May.
    11. Mark Aguiar & Erik Hurst, 2007. "Life-Cycle Prices and Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1533-1559, December.
    12. Chang, Yongsung & Schorfheide, Frank, 2003. "Labor-supply shifts and economic fluctuations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(8), pages 1751-1768, November.
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    14. Richard Rogerson, 2004. "Two Views on the Deterioration of European Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 447-455, 04/05.
    15. Sherwin Rosen, 1996. "Public Employment and the Welfare State in Sweden," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 729-740, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Taxes; Market work; J2; E6;

    JEL classification:

    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor

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