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Compulsory staff registers as a way of increasing firms’ wage reporting: A revenue-cost analysis


  • 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))


In 2007, the Swedish government tried to prevent firms from underreporting their wage payments by implementing a reform that required restaurants and hairdressers to have staff registers. Employers were required to provide detailed information on when their employees were working, and the Swedish Tax Authority was also given a mandate to carry out unannounced control visits and to impose fines on firms that had not properly filled out their staff registers. We estimate the effect of this reform on firms’ wage reporting using propensity score matching combined with a difference-in-differences analysis. Then, we compare the increase in tax revenues with the costs that the staff register system generated for the firms and the Swedish Tax Authority. Our results show that the total costs of the system exceeded the increase in tax revenues by approximately 355 million SEK ($36.6 million) over a four-year period, even when utilizing point estimates that are likely to overstate the effect on wage reporting. We thus conclude that considering the costs associated with the reform, the staff register reform is not economically justified.

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  • 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).
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:hfiwps:0006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Emmanuel Saez & Benjamin Schoefer & David Seim, 2019. "Payroll Taxes, Firm Behavior, and Rent Sharing: Evidence from a Young Workers' Tax Cut in Sweden," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 109(5), pages 1717-1763, May.
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    5. Sven-Olov Daunfeldt & Anton Gidehag & Niklas Rudholm, 2021. "How Do Firms Respond to Reduced Labor Costs? Evidence from the 2007 Swedish Payroll Tax Reform," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 315-338, September.
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    More about this item


    tax evasion; firm regulation; quasi-experimental method; unreported wages; propensity score matching;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • K34 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Tax Law
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation

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