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Employment and Taxes in Latin America: An Empirical Study of the Effects of Payroll, Corporate Income and Value-Added Taxes on Labor Outcomes

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  • Eduardo Lora

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  • Deisy Johanna Fajardo

Abstract

This paper empirically explores the effects of payroll taxes, value-added taxes and corporate income taxes on a variety of labor market outcomes such as employment, unemployment, informality, and wages. Using national-level data on labor variables for 15 Latin American countries, the results indicate that the effects of each tax are distinctly different and may depend on several aspects of labor and tax institutions. Payroll taxes reduce employment and increase labor costs when their benefits are not valued by workers, but otherwise increase labor participation and do not raise labor costs. Value-added taxes increase informality and reduce skilled labor demand. In contrast, corporate income taxes may help reduce informality, especially among low-education workers but, when tax enforcement capabilities are strong, may reduce labor participation and employment of medium- and high-education workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Eduardo Lora & Deisy Johanna Fajardo, 2012. "Employment and Taxes in Latin America: An Empirical Study of the Effects of Payroll, Corporate Income and Value-Added Taxes on Labor Outcomes," Research Department Publications 4791, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:4791
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    Cited by:

    1. Branko Milanovic & Sean Higgins & Nora Lustig & Whitney Ruble & Timothy M. Smeeding, 2016. "Comparing the Incidence of Taxes and Social Spending in Brazil and the United States," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62, pages 22-46, August.
    2. Sean Higgins & Nora Lustig & Whitney Ruble & Timothy Smeeding, 2013. "Comparing the incidence of taxes and social spending in Brazil and the United States," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1316, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    3. Pierre-Richard Agénor & King Yoong Lim, 2017. "Unemployment, Growth and Welfare Effects of Labor Market Reforms," Centre for Growth and Business Cycle Research Discussion Paper Series 232, Economics, The Univeristy of Manchester.
    4. Leonardo Fabio Morales & Carlos Medina, 2017. "Assessing the Effect of Payroll Taxes on Formal Employment: The Case of the 2012 Tax Reform in Colombia," ECONOMIA JOURNAL, THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION - LACEA, vol. 0(Fall 2017), pages 75-124, November.
    5. Sean Higgins, Nora Lustig, Whitney Ruble, and Timothy Smeeding, 2014. "Comparing the Incidence of Taxes and Social Spending in Brazil and the United States - Working Paper 360," Working Papers 360, Center for Global Development.
    6. Francesca Castellani & Eduardo Lora, 2014. "Is Entrepreneurship a Channel of Social Mobility in Latin America?," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 51(2), pages 179-194, November.
    7. Arturo Antón & Julio Leal, 2013. "Aggregate Effects of a Universal Social Insurance Fiscal Reform," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4580, Inter-American Development Bank.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions

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