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Taxes, subsidies and equilibrium labor market outcomes

  • Dale T Mortensen
  • Christopher Pissarides

We explore the effects of taxes and subsidies on job creation, job destruction, employment, and wages in the Mortensen-Pissarides version of the search and matching equilibrium framework. Qualitative analytical results show that wage and employment subsidies increase employment, especially of low skill workers, and also increase wages. A job creation or hiring subsidy reduces unemployment duration but increases incidence with an ambiguous effect on overall employment. A firing tax has the reverse effects but the same indeterminacy. In the special case of a competitive search equilibrium, the one in which search externalities are internalized, there is a first best configuration: no tax on the wage, an employment subsidy that offsets the distortions on the job destruction margin induced by unemployment compensation and employment protection policy, and a hiring subsidy equal to the implicit tax on severance imposed by any form of employment protection, with the costs of these and other policies financed by a non-distortionary consumption tax. Computational experiments confirm this ideal also determines the direction in which marginal improvements can be made both in terms of efficiency and in terms of improving low skill worker employment and wage outcomes.

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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 2075.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:2075
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  1. Christopher A. Pissarides & Barbara Petrongolo, 2001. "Looking into the Black Box: A Survey of the Matching Function," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 390-431, June.
  2. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. P. Diamond, 1980. "Mobility Costs, Frictional Unemployment and Efficiency," Working papers 257, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1985. "Short-run Equilibrium Dynamics of Unemployment Vacancies, and Real Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 676-90, September.
  5. P. Diamond, 1980. "Aggregate Demand Management in Search Equilibrium," Working papers 268, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Edmund S. Phelps, 1968. "Money-Wage Dynamics and Labor-Market Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 678.
  7. Wood Júnior, Thomaz, 1995. "Workers," RAE - Revista de Administração de Empresas, FGV-EAESP Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo (Brazil), vol. 35(2), January.
  8. Dale T. Mortensen, 1979. "The Matching Process as a Non-Cooperative/Bargaining Game," Discussion Papers 384, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  9. Carl Davidson & Stephen A. Woodbury, 1995. "Wage-Rate Subsidies for Dislocated Workers," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 95-31, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  10. Diamond, Peter A, 1982. "Wage Determination and Efficiency in Search Equilibrium," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 217-27, April.
  11. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, June.
  12. Dale T. Mortensen, 1994. "Reducing supply-side disincentives to job creation," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Jan, pages 189-237.
  13. Arial Rubinstein & Asher Wolinsky, 1985. "Equilibrium in a Market with Sequential Bargaining," Levine's Working Paper Archive 623, David K. Levine.
  14. Burda, Michael C, 1992. " A Note on Firing Costs and Severance Benefits in Equilibrium Unemployment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(3), pages 479-89.
  15. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1993. "Investments, Holdup, and the Form of Market Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 811-37, September.
  16. Lazear, Edward P, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726, August.
  17. Dale T. Mortensen, 1978. "Specific Capital and Labor Turnover," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 572-586, Autumn.
  18. George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213.
  19. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
  20. Wolinsky, Asher, 1987. "Matching, search, and bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 311-333, August.
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