IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Tax Policy and Labor Market Performance

  • Lans Bovenberg

In exploring the impact of tax policy on labor-market performance, the paper first investigates how tax reform impacts labor supply and equilibrium unemployment in representative agent models. The impact of tax policy on labor market performance depends importantly on various other labor-market institutions, such as minimum wage laws, wage bargaining, and unemployment benefits. In non-competitive labor markets, employment declines if a higher tax burden makes the outside option (i.e. unemployment) relatively more attractive. Marginal tax rates typically differ substantially across individuals. To explore the impact of specific tax policies, therefore, the paper relies on an applied general equilibrium model to investigate the consequences of tax reform with heterogeneous households. The model simulations reveal several trade-offs between various objectives, such as cutting unemployment, stimulating the participation of secondary workers into the labor force, raising the quality and quantity of labor supply, and establishing an equitable income distribution. The paper also analyses how efficiency considerations affect the optimal progressiveness of labor income taxes. Finally, the optimal progression of the labor income tax is investigated in the presence of search unemployment, heterogeneous households and distributional concerns.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1035.

in new window

Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1035
Contact details of provider: Postal: Poschingerstrasse 5, 81679 Munich
Phone: +49 (89) 9224-0
Fax: +49 (89) 985369
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Acemoglu, D. & Shimer, R., 1997. "Efficient Unemployment Insurance," Working papers 97-9, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : II. New directions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 309-341.
  3. Bertil Holmlund, 2002. "Labor Taxation in Search Equilibrium with Home Production," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 3(4), pages 415-430, November.
  4. Lans Bovenberg, A. & Jacobs, Bas, 2005. "Redistribution and education subsidies are Siamese twins," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2005-2035, December.
  5. Boadway, Robin & Cuff, Katherine & Marchand, Maurice, 2000. " Optimal Income Taxation with Quasi-linear Preferences Revisited," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 2(4), pages 435-60.
  6. Christopher A. Pissarides, 1997. "The Impact of Employment Tax Cuts on Unemployment and Wages: The Role of Unemployment Benefits and Tax Structure," CEP Discussion Papers dp0361, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Hans-Werner Sinn, 1994. "A Theory of the Welfare State," NBER Working Papers 4856, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  9. Neary, J.P & Roberts, K.W.S, 1978. "The Theory of Household Behaviour under Rationing," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 132, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  10. Richard Layard & Stephen Nickell, 1998. "Labour Market Institutions and Economic Performance," CEP Discussion Papers dp0407, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  11. Boone, Jan & Bovenberg, A Lans, 2001. "Optimal Labour Taxation and Search," CEPR Discussion Papers 3002, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Jan Boone & Lans Bovenberg, 2003. "The Optimal Taxation of Unskilled Labor with Job Search and Social Assistance," NBER Working Papers 9785, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Bovenberg, A.L., 1995. "Environmental taxation and employment," Other publications TiSEM db57f00b-741a-483d-a01b-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  14. Peter Fredriksson & Bertil Holmlund, 2006. "Improving Incentives in Unemployment Insurance: A Review of Recent Research," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 357-386, 07.
  15. Lawrence Goulder, 1995. "Environmental taxation and the double dividend: A reader's guide," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 157-183, August.
  16. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1996. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 36, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
  17. Michael Hoel, 1990. "Efficiency wages and income taxes," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 89-99, February.
  18. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
  19. Graafland, J.J. & Huizinga, F.H., 1998. "Taxes and benefits in a non-linear wage equation," MPRA Paper 21076, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  20. Weymark, John A, 1987. "Comparative Static Properties of Optimal Nonlinear Income Taxes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(5), pages 1165-85, September.
  21. repec:oup:qjecon:v:88:y:1974:i:1:p:44-62 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Graafland, Johan J & Lever, Marcel H C, 1996. "Internal and External Forces in Sectoral Wage Formation: Evidence from the Netherlands," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(2), pages 241-52, May.
  23. Lollivier, Stefan & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1983. "Bunching and second-order conditions: A note on optimal tax theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 392-400, December.
  24. P. B. Sørensen, 1997. "Public finance solutions to the European unemployment problem?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 12(25), pages 221-264, October.
  25. Mortensen, Dale T. & Pissarides, Christopher A., 1999. "New developments in models of search in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 39, pages 2567-2627 Elsevier.
  26. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 1999. "Social Security and Retirement around the World," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub99-1, December.
  27. Ben Lockwood & Alan Manning, 1993. "Wage Setting and the Tax System: theory and Evidence for the UK," CEP Discussion Papers dp0115, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  28. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 1991. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198284345, July.
  29. Richard Disney, 2000. "The Impact of Tax and Welfare Policieson Employment and Unemployment in OECD Countries," IMF Working Papers 00/164, International Monetary Fund.
  30. Trostel, Philip A, 1993. "The Effect of Taxation on Human Capital," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 327-50, April.
  31. Jonathan Gruber & David A. Wise, 1999. "Introduction to "Social Security and Retirement around the World"," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security and Retirement around the World, pages 1-35 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Broersma, L. & van Ours, J.C., 1998. "Job Searchers, Job Matches and the Elasticity of Matching," Discussion Paper 1998-72, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  33. Sijbren Cnossen, 2001. "Tax Policy in the European Union," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 58(4), pages 466-, November.
  34. Ebert, Udo, 1992. "A reexamination of the optimal nonlinear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 47-73, October.
  35. James Heckman & Lance Lochner & Ricardo Cossa, 2002. "Learning-By-Doing Vs. On-the-Job Training: Using Variation Induced by the EITC to Distinguish Between Models of Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 9083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  36. repec:oup:qjecon:v:108:y:1993:i:2:p:385-411 is not listed on IDEAS
  37. repec:oup:restud:v:57:y:1990:i:2:p:279-98 is not listed on IDEAS
  38. B. Douglas Bernheim & Kyle Bagwell, 1986. "Is Everything Neutral?," NBER Working Papers 2086, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  39. Hersoug, Tor, 1984. "Union Wage Responses to Tax Changes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(1), pages 37-51, March.
  40. Layard, Richard, 1980. "Human Satisfactions and Public Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(363), pages 737-50, December.
  41. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Julian McCrae & Costas Meghir, 2000. "The labour market impact of the working families’ tax credit," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 75-103, March.
  42. Lockwood, Ben & Manning, Alan, 1993. "Wage setting and the tax system theory and evidence for the United Kingdom," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 1-29, August.
  43. Frederick Van der Ploeg, 2003. "Do Social Policies Harm Employment and Growth?," CESifo Working Paper Series 886, CESifo Group Munich.
  44. Bovenberg, A Lans & van der Ploeg, Frederick, 1998. " Tax Reform, Structural Unemployment and the Environment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 100(3), pages 593-610, September.
  45. Heckman, James J, 1976. "A Life-Cycle Model of Earnings, Learning, and Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S11-44, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1035. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Julio Saavedra)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.