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Do regional payroll tax reductions boost employment?

Using a Difference-in-Differences approach we evaluate the effects of a 10 percentage points reduction in the payroll tax introduced in 2002 for firms in the northern part of Sweden. We find no employment effects for existing firms and can rule out that a 1 percentage point payroll tax reduction would increase employment with more than 0.2 percent. We do, however, find that tax reductions have significantly positive effects on the average wage bill per employee. These are likely to be driven by higher average wages, but might also be due to more hours worked. As a sensitivity check we investigate if reduced payroll taxes affect the likelihood of firm entry and exit, and find some support for a net firm inflow. Our attempts to assess concomitant effects on employment indicate that payroll tax reductions might yield increases in employment through the start-up of new firms.

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Paper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 2008:19.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 05 Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2008_019
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  1. Holmlund, Bertil, 1983. " Payroll Taxes and Wage Inflation: The Swedish Experience," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 85(1), pages 1-15.
  2. Fullerton, Don & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 2002. "Tax incidence," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 26, pages 1787-1872 Elsevier.
  3. Bohm, Peter & Lind, Hans, 1993. "Policy evaluation quality : A quasi-experimental study of regional employment subsidies in Sweden," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 51-65, March.
  4. 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.
  5. Steve J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1991. "Gross Job Creation, Gross Job Destruction and Employment Reallocation," NBER Working Papers 3728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Anderson, Patricia M. & Meyer, Bruce D., 2000. "The effects of the unemployment insurance payroll tax on wages, employment, claims and denials," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 81-106, October.
  7. Murphy, Kevin J., 2007. "The impact of unemployment insurance taxes on wages," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 457-484, June.
  8. Anderson, Patricia M. & Meyer, Bruce D., 1997. "The effects of firm specific taxes and government mandates with an application to the U.S. unemployment insurance program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 119-145, August.
  9. Gruber, Jonathan, 1994. "The Incidence of Mandated Maternity Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 622-41, June.
  10. Bingley, Paul & Lanot, Gauthier, 2002. "The incidence of income tax on wages and labour supply," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 173-194, February.
  11. Ossi Korkeamäki & Roope Uusitalo, 2004. "Employment effects of a payroll tax cut – Evidence from a regional tax subsidy experiment," ERSA conference papers ersa04p350, European Regional Science Association.
  12. Frode Johansen & Tor Jacob Klette, 1997. "Wage and Employment Effects of Payroll Taxes and Investment Subsidies," Discussion Papers 194, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
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