Tax Progression and Human Capital in Imperfect Labour Markets
Recent contributions to the theory of taxation in imperfect labour markets argue that tax progression raises welfare and employment in the presence of involuntary unemployment. The underlying theoretical analysis takes the endowment of workers with human capital as given. It is well known, however, that tax progression reduces incentives to form human capital. This paper analyses the effects of tax progression in a model with imperfect labour markets and endogenous human capital formation. We show that tax progression reduces wages but also human capital investment. The decline in human capital formation has a negative impact on employment which outweighs the employment-enhancing effect of the lower wage rate, such that tax progression unambiguously reduces employment and welfare.
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