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Beyond the Labour Income Tax Wedge: The Unemployment-Reducing Effect of Tax Progressivity

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  • Lehmann, Etienne

    (CRED, Université Panthéon Assas Paris 2)

  • Lucifora, Claudio

    (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore)

  • Moriconi, Simone

    (IÉSEG School of Management)

  • Van der Linden, Bruno

    (IRES, Université catholique de Louvain)

Abstract

In this paper we argue that, for a given overall level of labour income taxation, a more progressive tax schedule increases employment. From a theoretical point of view, higher progressivity increases overall employment through a wage moderating effect and also because employment of low-paid workers is more elastic to wages. We test these theoretical predictions on a panel of 21 OECD countries over 1998-2008. Controlling for the burden of taxation at the average wage, our estimates suggest that a more progressive tax schedule reduces the unemployment rate and increases the employment rate. These findings are confirmed when we account for the potential endogeneity of both average taxation and progressivity. Overall, our results suggest that policy-makers should not only focus on the detrimental effects of tax progressivity on in-work effort, but also consider the employment-enhancing effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Lehmann, Etienne & Lucifora, Claudio & Moriconi, Simone & Van der Linden, Bruno, 2014. "Beyond the Labour Income Tax Wedge: The Unemployment-Reducing Effect of Tax Progressivity," IZA Discussion Papers 8276, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8276
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    Cited by:

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    7. Albert Jan Hummel, 2021. "Unemployment and Tax Design," CESifo Working Paper Series 9177, CESifo.
    8. Robert Dixon & G. C. Lim & Jan C. van Ours, 2017. "Revisiting the Okun relationship," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(28), pages 2749-2765, June.
    9. Masuch, Klaus & Anderton, Robert & Setzer, Ralph & Benalal, Nicholai, 2018. "Structural policies in the euro area," Occasional Paper Series 210, European Central Bank.
    10. Albert Jan Hummel, 2021. "Unemployment and tax design," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 21-061/VI, Tinbergen Institute.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    employment; wage moderation; taxation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy

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