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Social Security Contributions and the Business Cycle

Author

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  • Almosova, Anna
  • Burda, Michael C
  • Voigts, Simon

Abstract

This paper examines magnitudes and business cycle dynamics of social security contributions (SSC). In most OECD countries studied, we document a negative covariation of payroll tax burdens with GDP and GDP growth at business cycle and lower frequencies. We assess the overall magnitude of the distortion following Barro and Redlick (2011). For most countries, average marginal SSC tax rates exceed average rates, but the latter tracks the former tightly. Changes in average payroll tax burdens are mostly accounted for by changes in tax schedules rather than shifts in the earnings distribution over time. For many countries, SSC rates behave like estimated values of the "labor wedge" (Chari et al. 2007, Brinca et al., 2016).

Suggested Citation

  • Almosova, Anna & Burda, Michael C & Voigts, Simon, 2017. "Social Security Contributions and the Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 12096, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12096
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Barro, Robert J & Sahasakul, Chaipat, 1986. "Average Marginal Tax Rates from Social Security and the Individual Income Tax," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages 555-566, October.
    2. Brinca Pedro, 2013. "Monetary business cycle accounting for Sweden," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-35, October.
    3. Jordi Galí & Mark Gertler & J. David López-Salido, 2007. "Markups, Gaps, and the Welfare Costs of Business Fluctuations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(1), pages 44-59, November.
    4. Barro, Robert J & Sahasakul, Chaipat, 1983. "Measuring the Average Marginal Tax Rate from the Individual Income Tax," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(4), pages 419-452, October.
    5. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe & Ellen R. McGrattan, 2007. "Business Cycle Accounting," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(3), pages 781-836, May.
    6. Casey B. Mulligan, 2002. "A Century of Labor-Leisure Distortions," NBER Working Papers 8774, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Lawrence J. Christiano & Terry J. Fitzgerald, 2003. "The Band Pass Filter," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(2), pages 435-465, May.
    8. Morten O. Ravn & Harald Uhlig, 2002. "On adjusting the Hodrick-Prescott filter for the frequency of observations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 371-375.
    9. Robert J. Barro & Charles J. Redlick, 2011. "Macroeconomic Effects From Government Purchases and Taxes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 51-102.
    10. Seater, John J., 1982. "Marginal federal personal and corporate income tax rates in the U.S., 1909-1975," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 361-381.
    11. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 192-205, March.
    12. King, Robert G. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1993. "Low frequency filtering and real business cycles," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 207-231.
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    14. Brinca, P. & Chari, V.V. & Kehoe, P.J. & McGrattan, E., 2016. "Accounting for Business Cycles," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    15. Casey B. Mulligan, 1999. "Substition over Time: Another Look at Life-Cycle Labor Supply," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1998, volume 13, pages 75-152 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Cogley, Timothy & Nason, James M., 1995. "Effects of the Hodrick-Prescott filter on trend and difference stationary time series Implications for business cycle research," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 253-278.
    17. Robert J. Barro & Chaipat Sahasakul, 1983. "Measuring the Average Marginal Tax Rates from Social Security and the Individual Income Tax," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 29, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
    18. Joines, Douglas H, 1981. "Estimates of Effective Marginal Tax Rates on Factor Incomes," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(2), pages 191-226, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Business cycle; labor wedge; payroll tax; social security contributions;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions

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