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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. Michael Gerfin & Michael Lechner & Heidi Steiger, 2003. "Does subsidised temporary employment get the unemployed back to work? An econometric analysis of two different schemes," Diskussionsschriften dp0303, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  2. 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.
  3. Besley, Timothy J. & Burgess, Robin, 2002. "Can Labour Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," CEPR Discussion Papers 3260, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. 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.
  5. Girma, Sourafel & Görg, Holger & Strobl, Eric & Walsh, Frank, 2007. "Creating Jobs Through Public Subsidies: An Empirical Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 3168, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. 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.
  7. Stephen Nickell, 2004. "Employment and taxes," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19955, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  8. Galasso, Emanuela & Ravallion, Martin & Salvia, Agustin, 2001. "Assisting the transition from workfare to work : a randomized experiment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2738, The World Bank.
  9. 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, June.
  10. Papps, Kerry L., 2011. "The Effects of Social Security Taxes and Minimum Wages on Employment: Evidence from Turkey," IZA Discussion Papers 6214, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. 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.
  12. Jonathan Gruber, 1995. "The Incidence of Payroll Taxation: Evidence from Chile," NBER Working Papers 5053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. repec:ucn:oapubs:10197/185 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
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