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Do Employment Subsidies Work? Evidence from Regionally Targeted Subsidies in Turkey

  • Betcherman, Gordon

    ()

    (University of Ottawa)

  • Daysal, N. Meltem

    ()

    (University of Southern Denmark)

  • Pagés, Carmen

    ()

    (Inter-American Development Bank)

This paper studies the effects on registered employment, earnings, and number of registered establishments of two employment subsidy schemes in Turkey. We implement a difference-in-differences methodology to construct appropriate counterfactuals for the covered provinces. Our findings suggest that both subsidy programs did lead to significant net increases in registered jobs in eligible provinces (5%-13% for the first program and 11%-15% for the second). However, the cost of the actual job creation was high because of substantial deadweight losses, particularly for the first program (47% and 78%). Because of better design features, the second subsidy program had lower, though still significant, deadweight losses (23%-44%). Although constrained by data availability, the evidence suggests that the dominant effect of subsidies was to increase social security registration of firms and workers rather than boosting total employment and economic activity. This supports the hypothesis that in countries with weak enforcement institutions, high labor taxes on low-wage workers may lead to substantial incentives for firms and workers to operate informally.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3508.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: May 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Labour Economics, 17:4 (August 2010), 710-722
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3508
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  1. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kerry L. Papps, 2012. "The Effects of Social Security Taxes and Minimum Wages on Employment: Evidence from Turkey," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 65(3), pages 686-707, July.
  3. Evans, William N. & Lien, Diana S., 2005. "The benefits of prenatal care: evidence from the PAT bus strike," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 207-239.
  4. Girma, Sourafel & Görg, Holger & Strobl, Eric & Walsh, Frank, 2008. "Creating jobs through public subsidies: An empirical analysis," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 1179-1199, December.
  5. Stephen Nickell, 2004. "Employment and Taxes," CEP Discussion Papers dp0634, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  6. James J. Heckman & Carmen Pagés, 2004. "Introduction to "Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin American and the Caribbean"," NBER Chapters, in: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, pages 1-108 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Gerfin, Michael & Lechner, Michael & Stieger, Heidi, 2002. "Does Subsidized Temporary Employment Get the Unemployed Back to Work? An Econometric Analysis of Two Different Schemes," CEPR Discussion Papers 3669, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. James J. Heckman & Carmen Pagés, 2004. "Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number heck04-1, October.
  9. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2002. "Can labour regulation hinder economic performance? Evidence from India," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3779, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Incidence of Payroll Taxation: Evidence from Chile," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S72-101, July.
  11. Emanuela Galasso & Martin Ravallion & Agustin Salvia, 2004. "Assisting the transition from workfare to work: A randomized experiment," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(1), pages 128-142, October.
  12. David H. Autor & William R. Kerr & Adriana D. Kugler, 2007. "Does Employment Protection Reduce Productivity? Evidence From US States," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(521), pages 189-217, 06.
  13. Ive MARX, 2001. "Job subsidies and cuts in employers' social security contributions: The verdict of empirical evaluation studies," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 140(1), pages 69-83, 03.
  14. Sourafel Girmaa & Holger Görg & Eric Strobl & Frank Walsh, 2008. "Creating jobs through public subsidies : an empirical analysis," Open Access publications 10197/185, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  15. David H. Autor & John J. Donohue & Stewart J. Schwab, 2006. "The Costs of Wrongful-Discharge Laws," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 211-231, May.
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