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The Impact of Differential Payroll Tax Subsidies on Minimum Wage Employment

  • Kramarz, Francis



  • Philippon, Thomas


    (New York University)

In this article, we study the impact of changes of total labor costs on employment of low-wage workers in France in a period, 1990 to 1998, that saw sudden and large changes in these costs. We use longitudinal data from the French Labor Force survey (« enquête emploi ») in order to understand the consequences of real decreases and real increases of the labor cost. We examine the transition probabilities from employment to non-employment and from non-employment to employment. In particular, we compare the transition probabilities of the workers that were directly affected by the changes ("between" workers) with the transition probabilities of workers closest in the wage distribution to those directly affected ("marginal" workers). In all years with an increasing minimum cost, the "between" group (or the treated using the vocabulary of controlled experiments) comprises all workers whose costs in year t lie between the old (year t) and the new (year $1) minimum. In all years with a decreasing minimum, the "between" group comprises all workers whose costs in year t+1 lie between the present minimum cost (year t+1) and the old (year t) minimum cost. The results can be summarized as follows. Comparing years of increasing minimum cost and decreasing minimum cost, difference-in-difference estimates imply that an increase of 1% of the cost implies roughly an increase of 1.5% in the probability of transiting from employment to non-employment for the treated workers, the resulting elasticity being -1.5. Second, results for the transitions from non-employment to employment are less clear-cut. Tax subsidies have a small and insignificant impact on entry"marginal" group constitutes a good control group. In addition, there is no obvious evidence of substitution between the "between" and "marginal" groups of workers, but there is some evidence of substitution between workers within the tax subsidy zone, with wages above those of the "marginal", and workers outside the subsidy zone.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 219.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Public Economics, 2001, 82 (1), 115-146
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp219
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References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Brown, Charles, 1999. "Minimum wages, employment, and the distribution of income," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 32, pages 2101-2163 Elsevier.
  2. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David Margolis & Thomas Philippon, 1999. "Minimum Wages and Employment in France and the United States," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00370392, HAL.
  3. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "A Reanalysis of the Effect of the New Jersey Minimum Wage Increase on the Fast-Food Industry with Representative Payroll Data," NBER Working Papers 6386, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1992. "Employment Effects of Minimum and Subminimum Wages: Panel Data on State Minimum Wage Laws," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 55-81, October.
  5. Abowd, John M. & Kramarz, Francis & Margolis, David N. & Philippon, Thomas, 2000. "The Tail of Two Countries: Minimum Wages and Employment in France and the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 203, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Thierry Magnac, 1997. "State Dependence and Heterogeity in youth Employment Histories," Working Papers 97-47, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  7. Guy Laroque & Bernard Salanié, 2000. "Une décomposition du non-emploi en France," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 331(1), pages 47-66.
  8. Dickens, Richard & Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan, 1998. "Estimating the effect of minimum wages on employment from the distribution of wages: A critical view," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 109-134, June.
  9. Stephen Machin & Alan Manning, 1992. "Minimum Wages," CEP Discussion Papers dp0080, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. David Card & Francis Kramarz & Thomas Lemieux, 1995. "Changes in the Relative Structure of Wages and Employment: A Comparison of the United States, Canada, and France," Working Papers 734, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  11. repec:oup:restud:v:64:y:1997:i:4:p:683-713 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 772-93, September.
  13. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & Thomas Lemieux & David Margolis, 2000. "Minimum Wages and Youth Employment in France and the United States," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00354400, HAL.
  14. repec:oup:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:3:p:977-1023 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Janet Currie & Bruce Fallick, 1993. "The Minimum Wage and the Employment of Youth: Evidence from the NLSY," NBER Working Papers 4348, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Charles Brown & Curtis Gilroy & Andrew Kohen, 1982. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 0846, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Guy Laroque & Bernard Salanié, 1999. "Breaking Down Married Female Non-Employment in France," Working Papers 99-31, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  18. repec:crs:wpaper:9931 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Brown, Charles & Gilroy, Curtis & Kohen, Andrew, 1982. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on Employment and Unemployment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 487-528, June.
  20. repec:oup:qjecon:v:114:y:1999:i:2:p:533-575 is not listed on IDEAS
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