The Effect of the Payroll Tax on Earnings: A Test of Competing Models of Wage Determination
Under the standard competitive model, if a tax change affects a group of workers with highly inelastic labor supply, their earnings will fall by essentially the entire nominal employer share of the tax increase. Allowing the wage to play a motivational role but maintaining the market-clearing assumption broadens the range of possible outcomes. With a 50/50 split in the nominal share, given a reasonable estimate of the elasticity of demand, earnings could fall from anywhere between 0 and more than 100% of the employer's nominal share but would not rise. In contrast, because there is excess labor (involuntary unemployment) in equilibrium, efficiency wage models function very much like models in which the supply of labor is perfectly elastic, and thus earnings rise by more than the worker's nominal share. I argue that the 1968, 1974 and 1979 increases in the taxable earnings base for FICA provide good opportunities to test the models. This tax increase affected only those workers earning significantly more than the median earnings for male full-time/year-round workers. Such workers' labor force participation is likely to have been highly inelastic. In addition, low earnings workers did not experience this tax increase. I examine the effects of the earnings base increases using data from the March CPS and from the PSID. The results are supportive of models in which the motivational effects of wages are important but cannot clearly distinguish between the efficiency wage and market-clearing versions of those models
|Date of creation:||11 Aug 2004|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Phone: 1 212 998 3820|
Fax: 1 212 995 4487
Web page: http://www.econometricsociety.org/pastmeetings.asp
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.:
- Robert Gibbons & Lawrence F. Katz, 1989.
"Does Unmeasured Ability Explain Inter-Industry Wage Differentials?,"
NBER Working Papers
3182, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gibbons, Robert & Katz, Lawrence F, 1992. "Does Unmeasured Ability Explain Inter-industry Wage Differentials?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(3), pages 515-35, July.
- Pisauro, Giuseppe, 1991. "The effect of taxes on labour in efficiency wage models," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 329-345, December.
- Montgomery, James D, 1991. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion and Interindustry Wage Differentials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 163-79, February.
- Lang, Kevin, 1991. "Persistent Wage Dispersion and Involuntary Unemployment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 181-202, February.
- Cappelli, Peter & Chauvin, Keith, 1991. "An Interplant Test of the Efficiency Wage Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 769-87, August.
- Stephen G. Donald & Kevin Lang, 2007. "Inference with Difference-in-Differences and Other Panel Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(2), pages 221-233, May.
- Rosen, Sherwin, 1987. "The theory of equalizing differences," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 12, pages 641-692 Elsevier.
- Feldstein, Martin & Samwick, Andrew A., 1992.
"Social Security Rules and Marginal Tax Rates,"
National Tax Journal,
National Tax Association, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, March.
- William T. Dickens & Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Interindustry Wage Differences and Industry Characteristics," NBER Working Papers 2014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Gruber, Jonathan, 1997.
"The Incidence of Payroll Taxation: Evidence from Chile,"
Journal of Labor Economics,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S72-101, July.
- Jonathan Gruber, 1995. "The Incidence of Payroll Taxation: Evidence from Chile," NBER Working Papers 5053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Weitzman, Marchin L, 1989. "A Theory of Wage Dispersion and Job Market Segmentation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 104(1), pages 121-37, February.
- Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
- Akerlof, George A, 1984. "Gift Exchange and Efficiency-Wage Theory: Four Views," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 79-83, May.
- Solow, Robert M., 1979. "Another possible source of wage stickiness," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 79-82.
- Brown, Charles, 1980. "Equalizing Differences in the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 113-34, February.
- Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "Ownership, Agency, and Wages: An Examination of Franchising in the Fast Food Industry," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(1), pages 75-101, February.
- Levine, David I, 1992. "Can Wage Increases Pay for Themselves? Tests with a Production Function," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(414), pages 1102-15, September.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecm:nawm04:360. 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: (Christopher F. Baum)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.