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Do Higher Corporate Taxes Reduce Wages? Micro Evidence from Germany

  • Fuest, Clemens

    ()

    (ZEW Mannheim)

  • Peichl, Andreas

    ()

    (ZEW Mannheim)

  • Siegloch, Sebastian

    ()

    (University of Mannheim)

Because of endogeneity problems very few studies have been able to identify the incidence of corporate taxes on wages. We circumvent these problems by using an 11-year panel of data on 11,441 German municipalities' tax rates, 8 percent of which change each year, linked to administrative matched employer-employee data. Consistent with our theoretical model, we find a negative effect of corporate taxation on wages: a 1 euro increase in tax liabilities yields a 77 cent decrease in the wage bill. The direct wage effect, arising in a collective bargaining context, dominates, while the conventional indirect wage effect through reduced investment is empirically small due to regional labor mobility. High and medium-skilled workers, who arguably extract higher rents in collective agreements, bear a larger share of the corporate tax burden.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7390.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: May 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7390
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  1. Arnold C. Harberger, 1962. "The Incidence of the Corporation Income Tax," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 215.
  2. Sebastian Krautheim & Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr, 2011. "Wages and International Tax Competition," Working Papers 1123, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
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  4. Arulampalam, Wiji & Devereux, Michael P. & Maffini, Giorgia, 2012. "The direct incidence of corporate income tax on wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1038-1054.
  5. R. Alison Felix, 2007. "Passing the burden: corporate tax incidence in open economies," Regional Research Working Paper RRWP 07-01, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  6. Gartner, Hermann, 2005. "The imputation of wages above the contribution limit with the German IAB employment sample," FDZ Methodenreport 200502_en, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  7. Dwenger, Nadja & Rattenhuber, Pia & Steiner, Viktor, 2013. "Sharing the burden? Empirical evidence on corporate tax incidence," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80040, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  8. Janeba, Eckhard & Osterloh, Steffen, 2013. "Tax and the city: A theory of local tax competition and evidence for Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-005 [rev.], ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  9. Barth, Erling & Zweimuller, Josef, 1995. " Relative Wages under Decentralized and Corporatist Bargaining Systems," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(3), pages 369-84, September.
  10. Li Liu & Rosanne Altshuler, 2011. "Measuring the burden of the corporate income tax under imperfect competition," Working Papers 1105, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
  11. Alan J. Auerbach, 2006. "Who Bears the Corporate Tax? A Review of What We Know," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 20, pages 1-40 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "Optimal Taxation and Public Production II: Tax Rules," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(3), pages 261-78, June.
  13. Holger Alda & Stefan Bender & Hermann Gartner, 2005. "European Data Watch: The linked employer-employee dataset created from the IAB establishment panel and the process-produced data of the IAB (LIAB)," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 125(2), pages 327-336.
  14. R. Alison Felix & James R. Hines, Jr., 2009. "Corporate Taxes and Union Wages in the United States," NBER Working Papers 15263, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Bradford, David F., 1978. "Factor prices may be constant but factor returns are not," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 1(3), pages 199-203.
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