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Taxation, match quality and social welfare

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  • Brendan Epstein
  • Ryan Nunn

Abstract

A large public finance literature argues that taxable income elasticities are a sufficient statistic for the social welfare consequences of taxation. We develop calibrations that show such deadweight loss calculations are overestimates proportional to the quantitative significance of heterogeneity in amenities across job matches. In particular, the endogenous supply of amenities can substantially exacerbate this overestimation in both static and dynamic environments. Given the possibility of gradual migration of workers into more amenity-focused job matches in response to tax increases, welfare calculations based on long-run taxable income elasticities can be more misleading than those based on short-run elasticities.

Suggested Citation

  • Brendan Epstein & Ryan Nunn, 2013. "Taxation, match quality and social welfare," International Finance Discussion Papers 1079, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:1079
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2295-2350, November.
    2. Martin Feldstein, 1999. "Tax Avoidance And The Deadweight Loss Of The Income Tax," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 674-680, November.
    3. Pierre Cahuc & Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2006. "Wage Bargaining with On-the-Job Search: Theory and Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(2), pages 323-364, March.
    4. Emmanuel Saez & Joel Slemrod & Seth H. Giertz, 2012. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 50(1), pages 3-50, March.
    5. McCall, Brian P, 1990. "Occupational Matching: A Test of Sorts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 45-69, February.
    6. Mortensen, Dale & Pissarides, Christopher, 2011. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 1-19.
    7. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Tore Olsen & Luigi Pistaferri, 2011. "Adjustment Costs, Firm Responses, and Micro vs. Macro Labor Supply Elasticities: Evidence from Danish Tax Records," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 749-804.
    8. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-990, October.
    9. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
    10. van Ours, Jan C. & Vodopivec, Milan, 2008. "Does reducing unemployment insurance generosity reduce job match quality?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 684-695, April.
    11. Epstein, Brendan & Kimball, Miles S., 2014. "The Decline of Drudgery and the Paradox of Hard Work," International Finance Discussion Papers 1106, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    12. Paul Sullivan & Ted To, 2014. "Search and Nonwage Job Characteristics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(2), pages 472-507.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Biased taxable income elasticities
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-06-10 19:41:00

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    1. Epstein, Brendan & Kimball, Miles S., 2014. "The Decline of Drudgery and the Paradox of Hard Work," International Finance Discussion Papers 1106, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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