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Labor Income Responds Differently to Income-Tax and Payroll-Tax Reforms


  • Etienne Lehmann
  • François Marical
  • Laurence Rioux


We estimate the responses of gross labor income with respect to marginal and average net-of-tax rates in France over the period 2003-2006. We exploit a series of reforms to the income-tax and payroll-tax schedules affecting individuals who earn less than twice the minimum wage. Our estimate for the elasticity of gross labor income with respect to the marginal net-of-income-tax rate is around 0.2, while we find no response to the marginal net-of-payroll-tax rate. The elasticity with respect to the average net-of-tax rate is not significant for the income-tax schedule, while it is close to -1 for the payroll-tax schedule. A plausible explanation is the existence of significant labor supply responses to the income-tax schedule, combined with sticky posted wages (i.e., the gross labor income minus payroll taxes divided by hours worked). Finally, the effect of the net-of-income-tax rate seems to be driven by participation decisions, in particular those of married women.

Suggested Citation

  • Etienne Lehmann & François Marical & Laurence Rioux, 2012. "Labor Income Responds Differently to Income-Tax and Payroll-Tax Reforms," CESifo Working Paper Series 3974, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3974

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    Cited by:

    1. Gavrilova, Evelina & Zoutman, Floris T. & Hopland, Arnt O., 2017. "How to Use One Instrument to Identify Two Elasticities," Discussion Papers 2017/2, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
    2. Neisser, Carina, 2017. "The elasticity of taxable income: A meta-regression analysis," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-032, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. Antoine Bozio & Thomas Breda & Malka Guillot, 2016. "Taxes and Technological Determinants of Wage Inequalities: France 1976-2010," Working Papers 2016-07, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    4. Aart Gerritsen, 2016. "Equity and Efficiency in Rationed Labor Markets," Working Papers tax-mpg-rps-2016-04, Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance.
    5. Michaël Zemmour, 2013. "Les dépenses socio-fiscales ayant trait à la protection sociale : état des lieux," Working Papers hal-01064750, HAL.
    6. Etienne Lehmann & Claudio Lucifora & Simone Moriconi & Bruno Van der Linden, 2016. "Beyond the labour income tax wedge: the unemployment-reducing effect of tax progressivity," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(3), pages 454-489, June.
    7. Tazhitdinova, Alisa, 2015. "Adjust Me if I Can’t: The Effect of Firm Incentives on Labor Supply Responses to Taxes," MPRA Paper 81611, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2017.
    8. Spencer Bastani & Laurent Simula, 2014. "Commentaires. Évaluer les limites à la redistribution : approches partielles ou approche globale ?," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 467(1), pages 163-171.
    9. David Powell, 2015. "Do Payroll Taxes in the United States Create Bunching at Kink Points?," Working Papers wp327, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    10. repec:kap:decono:v:165:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10645-017-9296-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Nicole Bosch & Maja Micevska Scharf, 2015. "Earnings responses to discontinuities in social security contributions: Evidence from Dutch administrative data," CPB Discussion Paper 311, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

    More about this item


    labor income; payroll tax; income tax;

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy


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