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Labor Taxes and Wages: Evidence from Italy


  • Giorgio Brunello
  • Maria Laura Parisi
  • Daniela Sonedda


We study the empirical relationship between labor taxation and pretax wages in Italy. We find that higher tax progressivity increases pretax wages. To explain this result, we introduce in an informal way a relative wage effect and argue that the combination of this effect with the labor supply effect dominates the wage moderation effect. We find also evidence that changes in payroll taxes are not fully absorbed by offsetting changes in the pretax wage and affect labor costs and employment. The evidence on the effect of the average income tax rate on pretax wages is more mixed, but it also points to the presence of some degree of real wage resistance. Finally, we find significant differences in the relationship between labor taxes and pretax wages by age group but not by skill or region of residence.

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  • Giorgio Brunello & Maria Laura Parisi & Daniela Sonedda, 2002. "Labor Taxes and Wages: Evidence from Italy," CESifo Working Paper Series 715, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_715

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    Cited by:

    1. Aronsson, Thomas & Wikström, Magnus, 2011. "Optimal Tax Progression: Does it Matter if Wage Bargaining is Centralized or Decentralized?," Umeå Economic Studies 829, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    2. Kjell Erik Lommerud & Bjørn Sandvik & Odd Rune Straume, 2004. "Good Jobs, Bad Jobs and Redistribution," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(4), pages 703-720, December.
    3. Thomas Aronsson & James R. Walker, 2010. "Labor Supply, Tax Base and Public Policy in Sweden," NBER Chapters,in: Reforming the Welfare State: Recovery and Beyond in Sweden, pages 127-158 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Ángel Melguizo & José González-Páramo, 2013. "Who bears labour taxes and social contributions? A meta-analysis approach," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 247-271, August.
    5. Andrea Festa, 2014. "Tax relief, tax wedge and regional employment: evidence from Italy," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 117-137, August.
    6. Alfonso ARPAIA & Giuseppe CARONE, "undated". "Do Labour Taxes (and their Composition) Affect Wages in the Short and the Long Run?," EcoMod2004 330600010, EcoMod.
    7. Alfonso Arpaia & Giuseppe Carone, 2004. "Do labour taxes (and their composition) affect wages in the short and the long run? - Alfonso Arpaia and Giuseppe Carone," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 216, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    8. Pia Rattenhuber, 2012. "Marginal Taxes: A Good or a Bad for Wages?: The Incidence of the Structure of Income and Labor Taxes on Wages," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1193, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    9. Alfonso Arpaia & Giuseppe Carone, 2004. "Do labour taxes (and their composition) affect wages in the short and in the long run?," Public Economics 0411004, EconWPA.

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    progressive taxation; wage determination; Italy;


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