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How Tax Progression Affects Effort and Employment

Author

Listed:
  • Koskela, Erkki

    () (University of Helsinki)

  • Schöb, Ronnie

    () (Free University of Berlin)

Abstract

Within an efficiency wage framework, we study the effects of two revenue-neutral tax reforms that change the progressivity of the labour tax system. A revenue-neutral increase in both the wage tax and tax exemption and a revenue-neutral change in the composition of labour taxation towards the tax with the smaller tax base will lead to the same results: they moderate wages, workers’ effort, effective labour input and aggregate output. Whether employment rises or falls, however, depends in both reforms on the magnitude of the pre-reform total tax wedge. The larger this tax wedge is, the more negative is the impact of reforms on workers’ effort. A larger total tax wedge increases the negative effect of tax progression on labour productivity and thus thwarts the positive employment effect of wage moderation.

Suggested Citation

  • Koskela, Erkki & Schöb, Ronnie, 2007. "How Tax Progression Affects Effort and Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 2861, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2861
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Koskela Erkki & Schöb Ronnie, 2002. "Why Governments Should Tax Mobile Capital in the Presence of Unemployment," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-22, January.
    2. Pissarides, Christopher A., 1998. "The impact of employment tax cuts on unemployment and wages; The role of unemployment benefits and tax structure," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 155-183, January.
    3. Goerke, Laszlo, 1999. "Efficiency Wages and Taxes," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(2), pages 131-142, June.
    4. Merton, Robert C., 1971. "Optimum consumption and portfolio rules in a continuous-time model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 373-413, December.
    5. Koskela, Erkki & Schob, Ronnie, 1999. "Does the composition of wage and payroll taxes matter under Nash bargaining?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 343-349, September.
    6. Solow, Robert M., 1979. "Another possible source of wage stickiness," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 79-82.
    7. Michael Hoel, 1990. "Efficiency wages and income taxes," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 89-99, February.
    8. Pierre M. Picard & Eric Toulemonde, 2003. "Taxation and Labor Markets," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 78(1), pages 29-56, January.
    9. Heijdra, Ben J. & Ligthart, Jenny E., 2004. "Labor tax reform and equilibrium unemployment: a search and matching approach," CCSO Working Papers 200409, University of Groningen, CCSO Centre for Economic Research.
    10. Sorensen, Peter Birch, 1999. "Optimal tax progressivity in imperfect labour markets," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 435-452, September.
    11. 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.
    12. Andersen, Torben M. & Sandemann Rasmussen, Bo, 1999. "Effort, taxation and unemployment1," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 97-103, January.
    13. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Primož Dolenc & Suzana Laporšek, 2012. "Taxing wages and sustainable labour market performance: empirical evidence from OECD and EU countries," International Journal of Sustainable Economy, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 4(3), pages 234-253.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax progression; structure of labour taxation; efficiency wages;

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J48 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Particular Labor Markets; Public Policy

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