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Do regional payroll tax reductions boost employment?

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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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  • Bennmarker, Helge & Mellander, Erik & Öckert, Björn, 2008. "Do regional payroll tax reductions boost employment?," Working Paper Series 2008:19, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2008_019
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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
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    5. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Incidence of Payroll Taxation: Evidence from Chile," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 72-101, July.
    6. 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.
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    11. Gruber, Jonathan, 1994. "The Incidence of Mandated Maternity Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 622-641, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Payroll tax; Labour demand; Incidence; Firm entry/exit; Difference-in-Differences;

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • J58 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Public Policy
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy

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