IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hhs/osloec/1999_019.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Progressive taxes and the labour market : is the trade-off between equality and efficiency inevitable?

Author

Listed:
  • Roed,K.
  • Strom,S.

    (University of Oslo, Department of Economics)

Abstract

Does an income tax harm economic efficiency more the more progressive it is? Public economics provides a strong case for a definite ‘yes’. But at least three forces may pull in the other direction. First, low–wage workers may on average have more elastic labour supply schedules than high–wage workers, in which case progressive taxes contribute to a more efficient allocation of the total tax burden. Second, in non–competitive labour markets, progressive taxes may encourage wage moderation, and hence reduce the equilibrium level of unemployment. And third, if wage setters have egalitarian objectives, progressive taxes may reduce the need for redistribution in pre–tax wages, and hence increase the demand for low–skilled workers. This paper surveys the theoretical, as well as the empirical literature about labour supply, taxes and wage setting. We conclude that in a second best world, the trade–off between equality and efficiency is not always inevitable.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Roed,K. & Strom,S., 1999. "Progressive taxes and the labour market : is the trade-off between equality and efficiency inevitable?," Memorandum 19/1999, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:1999_019
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sv.uio.no/econ/english/research/unpublished-works/working-papers/pdf-files/1999/Memo-19-1999.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Robert A. Moffitt & Mark Wilhelm, 1998. "Taxation and the Labor Supply: Decisions of the Affluent," NBER Working Papers 6621, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Layard, R. & Nickell, S., 1991. "Unemployment in the OECD Countries," Economics Series Working Papers 99130, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. Arrufat, Jose Luis & Zabalza, Antonio, 1986. "Female Labor Supply with Taxation, Random Preferences, and Optimization Errors," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(1), pages 47-63, January.
    4. John K. Dagsvik & François Laisney & Steinar Strom & Jannike Ostervold, 1988. "Female Labour Supply and the Tax Benefit System in France," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 11, pages 5-40.
    5. McKinley Blackburn & David Neumark, 1992. "Unobserved Ability, Efficiency Wages, and Interindustry Wage Differentials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1421-1436.
    6. Hammond, Peter J, 1990. "Theoretical Progress in Public Economics: A Provocative Assessment," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 6-33, January.
    7. Ugo Colombino & Steinar Strøm & Rolf Aaberge, 2000. "Labor supply responses and welfare effects from replacing current tax rules by a flat tax: Empirical evidence from Italy, Norway and Sweden," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 13(4), pages 595-621.
    8. Dickens, William T & Lundberg, Shelly J, 1993. "Hours Restrictions and Labor Supply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(1), pages 169-192, February.
    9. Ilmakunnas, Seija & Pudney, Stephen, 1990. "A model of female labour supply in the presence of hours restrictions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 183-210, March.
    10. Jon Strand, 2002. "Effects of Progressive Taxes under Decentralized Bargaining and Heterogeneous Labor," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 9(2), pages 195-210, March.
    11. Rolf Aaberge & Ugo Colombino, 2014. "Labour Supply Models," Contributions to Economic Analysis, in: Cathal O’Donoghue (ed.), Handbook of Microsimulation Modelling, volume 127, pages 167-221, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    12. Heckman, James J, 1978. "A Partial Survey of Recent Research on the Labor Supply of Women," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 200-207, May.
    13. Richard Jackman & Richard Layard & Marco Manacorda & Barbara Petrongolo, 1997. "European versus US Unemployment: Different Responses to Increased Demand for skill?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0349, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    14. Holmlund, B. & Kolm, A.S., 1995. "Progressive Taxation, Wage Setting and Unemployment - Theory and Swedish Evidence," Papers 15, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
    15. Lockwood, Ben & Slok, Torsten & Tranaes, Torben, 2000. " Progressive Taxation and Wage Setting: Some Evidence for Denmark," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(4), pages 707-723, December.
    16. Richard W. Blundell, 1995. "The Impact of Taxation on Labour Force Participation and Labour Supply," OECD Jobs Study Working Papers 8, OECD Publishing.
    17. Michael Hoel, 1990. "Efficiency wages and income taxes," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 89-99, February.
    18. Hausman, Jerry A, 1985. "The Econometrics of Nonlinear Budget Sets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(6), pages 1255-1282, November.
    19. Hersoug, Tor, 1984. "Union Wage Responses to Tax Changes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(1), pages 37-51, March.
    20. Burtless, Gary & Hausman, Jerry A, 1978. "The Effect of Taxation on Labor Supply: Evaluating the Gary Negative Income Tax Experiments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 1103-1130, December.
    21. Aaberge, Rolf & Dagsvik, John K & Strom, Steinar, 1995. " Labor Supply Responses and Welfare Effects of Tax Reforms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 635-659, December.
    22. Browning, Edgar K & Johnson, William R, 1984. "The Trade-Off between Equality and Efficiency," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(2), pages 175-203, April.
    23. J. A. Mirrlees, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 175-208.
    24. Koskela, Erkki & Vilmunen, Jouko, 1996. "Tax progression is good for employment in popular models of trade union behaviour," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 65-80, August.
    25. John Creedy, 1996. "Fiscal Policy and Social Welfare," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 797.
    26. Wulfsberg, F., 1996. "Do Progressive Taxes Reduce Wage Pressure?," Memorandum 38/1996, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    27. Ballard, Charles L, 1988. "The Marginal Efficiency Cost of Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1019-1033, December.
    28. Chinhui Juhn & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 1991. "Why Has the Natural Rate of Unemployment Increased over Time?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 75-142.
    29. Paul R. Krugman, 1994. "Past and prospective causes of high unemployment," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Jan, pages 49-98.
    30. Mroz, Thomas A, 1987. "The Sensitivity of an Empirical Model of Married Women's Hours of Work to Economic and Statistical Assumptions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 765-799, July.
    31. Lockwood, Ben & Manning, Alan, 1993. "Wage setting and the tax system theory and evidence for the United Kingdom," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 1-29, August.
    32. Kay, J. A., 1980. "The deadweight loss from a tax system," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 111-119, February.
    33. Nickell, Stephen & Bell, Brian, 1995. "The Collapse in Demand for the Unskilled and Unemployment across the OECD," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 40-62, Spring.
    34. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
    35. Robert K. Triest, 1993. "The Efficiency Cost of Increased Progressivity," NBER Working Papers 4535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    36. Ian Walker, 1990. "The effects of income support measures on the labour market behaviour of lone mothers," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 11(2), pages 55-75, May.
    37. Willi Leibfritz & John Thornton & Alexandra Bibbee, 1997. "Taxation and Economic Performance," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 176, OECD Publishing.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Jon Strand, 2002. "Effects of Progressive Taxes under Decentralized Bargaining and Heterogeneous Labor," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 9(2), pages 195-210, March.
    2. Rolf Aaberge & Ugo Colombino, 2014. "Labour Supply Models," Contributions to Economic Analysis, in: Cathal O’Donoghue (ed.), Handbook of Microsimulation Modelling, volume 127, pages 167-221, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    3. John K. Dagsvik & Zhiyang Jia & Tom Kornstad & Thor O. Thoresen, 2014. "Theoretical And Practical Arguments For Modeling Labor Supply As A Choice Among Latent Jobs," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(1), pages 134-151, February.
    4. Herwig Immervoll & Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Emmanuel Saez, 2007. "Welfare reform in European countries: a microsimulation analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(516), pages 1-44, January.
    5. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pc:p:3029-3084 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Stuart Adam, 2005. "Measuring the marginal efficiency cost of redistribution in the UK," IFS Working Papers W05/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    7. Hansen, Claus Thustrup & Pedersen, Lars Haagen & Slok, Torsten, 2000. "Ambiguous effects of tax progressivity -- theory and Danish evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 335-347, May.
    8. John K. Dagsvik & Steinar StrØm, 2006. "Sectoral labour supply, choice restrictions and functional form," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(6), pages 803-826, September.
    9. Kjell Erik Lommerud & Bjørn Sandvik & Odd Rune Straume, 2004. "Good Jobs, Bad Jobs and Redistribution," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 106(4), pages 703-720, December.
    10. Albert Jan Hummel, 2021. "Unemployment and tax design," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 21-061/VI, Tinbergen Institute.
    11. Clemens Fuest & Bernd Huber, 1997. "Wage bargaining, labor-tax progression, and welfare," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 66(2), pages 127-150, June.
    12. Lehmann, Etienne & Parmentier, Alexis & Van Der Linden, Bruno, 2011. "Optimal income taxation with endogenous participation and search unemployment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1523-1537.
    13. Eissa, Nada & Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup, 2008. "Evaluation of four tax reforms in the United States: Labor supply and welfare effects for single mothers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 795-816, April.
    14. Rolf Aaberge & Ugo Colombino, 2018. "Structural Labour Supply Models and Microsimulation," International Journal of Microsimulation, International Microsimulation Association, vol. 11(1), pages 162-197.
    15. Etienne Lehmann & Claudio Lucifora & Simone Moriconi & Bruno Van der Linden, 2016. "Beyond the labour income tax wedge: the unemployment-reducing effect of tax progressivity," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(3), pages 454-489, June.
    16. Sorensen, Peter Birch, 1999. "Optimal tax progressivity in imperfect labour markets," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 435-452, September.
    17. Atallah, Gamal, 1998. "Les impôts sur le revenu et l’offre de travail des femmes mariées : une revue de la littérature," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 74(1), pages 95-128, mars.
    18. Aronsson, Thomas & Wikström, Magnus, 2011. "Optimal Tax Progression: Does it Matter if Wage Bargaining is Centralized or Decentralized?," Umeå Economic Studies 829, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
    19. Pekka Sinko, 2007. "Labour taxation, job creation and job destruction—Focusing on the role of wage setting," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(5), pages 583-604, October.
    20. John K. Dagsvik & Steinar StrF8m, 2002. "Analyzing labor supply behavior with latent job opportunity sets and institutional choice constraints," ICER Working Papers 15-2002, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
    21. Olivier Bargain & Kristian Orsini & Andreas Peichl, 2014. "Comparing Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the United States: New Results," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(3), pages 723-838.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J58 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Public Policy

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:osloec:1999_019. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/souiono.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Mari Strønstad Øverås (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/souiono.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.