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How do firms respond to reduced labor costs? Evidence from the 2007 Swedish payroll tax reform

Author

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  • Daunfeldt, Sven-Olov

    (Institute of Retail Economics (Handelns Forskningsinstitut))

  • Gidehag, Anton

    (Institute of Retail Economics (Handelns Forskningsinstitut))

  • Rudholm, Niklas

    (Institute of Retail Economics (Handelns Forskningsinstitut))

Abstract

One way for policymakers to reduce labor costs and stimulate the recruitment of marginalized groups of labor in a highly unionized economy is to lower payroll taxes. However, the efficiency of this policy instrument has been questioned, and previous evaluations have mostly found small employment effects for such reforms. We investigate the effects of a payroll tax cut in Sweden that decreased firms’ labor costs in relation to the number of young employees that they had employed when the reform was implemented in 2007. We find that most firms received small labor cost savings as a result of the reform, but those that received larger cost savings increased their number of employees significantly more than firms that received no, or minor, labor cost savings. Our findings also suggest that the payroll tax cut increased the total wages paid to incumbent workers, but the wage effect was too small to offset the positive extensive-margin employment effect of the reform. In total, we find that the Swedish payroll tax reform created 18,100 jobs over the period 2006-2008; most of these jobs were within the targeted group of young employees.

Suggested Citation

  • Daunfeldt, Sven-Olov & Gidehag, Anton & Rudholm, Niklas, 2019. "How do firms respond to reduced labor costs? Evidence from the 2007 Swedish payroll tax reform," HFI Working Papers 3, Institute of Retail Economics (Handelns Forskningsinstitut).
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hfiwps:0003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Sophie Cottet, 2020. "Payroll Tax Reductions for Minimum Wage Workers: Relative Labor Cost or Cash Windfall Effects?," PSE Working Papers halshs-03010943, HAL.
    2. Sophie Cottet, 2024. "Payroll Tax Reductions for Minimum Wage Workers: Relative Labor Cost or Cash Windfall Effects?," CESifo Working Paper Series 11076, CESifo.
    3. Gidehag, Anton, 2019. "Firms’ labor cost savings and recruitment of nonwestern immigrants: The unintended effect of a payroll tax reform," HFI Working Papers 5, Institute of Retail Economics (Handelns Forskningsinstitut).
    4. Sophie Cottet, 2020. "Payroll Tax Reductions for Minimum Wage Workers: Relative Labor Cost or Cash Windfall Effects?," Working Papers halshs-03010943, HAL.
    5. Daunfeldt, Sven-Olov & Gidehag, Anton & Rudholm, Niklas, 2019. "Compulsory staff registers as a way of increasing firms’ wage reporting: A revenue-cost analysis," HFI Working Papers 6, Institute of Retail Economics (Handelns Forskningsinstitut).
    6. Seerar Westerberg, Hans, 2021. "Are payroll tax cuts absorbed by insiders? Evidence from the Swedish retail industry," HFI Working Papers 20, Institute of Retail Economics (Handelns Forskningsinstitut).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Payroll tax reform; labor demand; employment; wages;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • L20 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - General

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