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Is tax progression really good for employment? A model with endogenous hours of work

Listed author(s):
  • Fuest, Clemens
  • Huber, Bernd

This paper discusses the effect of tax progression on wage setting and employment in a unionised labour market. Recent contributions to this field argue that tax progression paradoxically enhances employment if wage setting is subject to collective bargaining. In this literature, individual hours of work are usually assumed to be exogenously given. We show that the positive employment effect of tax progression can be generalized to a model with a positive labour supply elasticity of individual workers. However, the wage-moderating effect of tax progression does not unambiguously carry over to a world where the union may fix both wages and individual hours of work. In this framework, the union reacts to tax progression by cutting individual working time. The wage rate, however, may decrease or increase. If the wage rate increases, the number of employed workers may decline despite the reduction in hours of work.

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Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Munich Reprints in Economics with number 20296.

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Date of creation: 2000
Publication status: Published in Labour Economics 1 7(2000): pp. 79-93
Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenar:20296
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  1. Oswald, A. J., 1995. "Efficient contracts are on the labour demand curve: Theory and facts," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 102-102, March.
  2. Keen, Michael & Marchand, Maurice, 1997. "Fiscal competition and the pattern of public spending," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 33-53, October.
  3. Hersoug, Tor, 1984. "Union Wage Responses to Tax Changes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(1), pages 37-51, March.
  4. Erkki Koskela & Ronnie Schöb & Hans-Werner Sinn, 1998. "Pollution, Factor Taxation and Unemployment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 5(3), pages 379-396, July.
  5. Koskela, Erkki & Vilmunen, Jouko, 1996. "Tax progression is good for employment in popular models of trade union behaviour," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 65-80, August.
  6. Clemens Fuest & Bernd Huber, 1999. "Tax Coordination and Unemployment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 6(1), pages 7-26, February.
  7. Andrew Oswald & Ian Walker, 1993. "Labour supply, contract theory and unions," IFS Working Papers W93/21, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  8. Nash, John, 1950. "The Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 18(2), pages 155-162, April.
  9. Booth, Alison & Ravallion, Martin, 1993. "Employment and Length of the Working Week in a Unionized Economy in which Hours of Work Influence Productivity," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 69(207), pages 428-436, December.
  10. Calmfors, Lars & Hoel, Michael, 1988. " Work Sharing and Overtime," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 90(1), pages 45-62.
  11. Calmfors, Lars, 1985. "Work sharing, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 293-309.
  12. Leslie, Derek G & Wise, John, 1980. "The Productivity of Hours in U.K. Manufacturing and Production Industries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(357), pages 74-84, March.
  13. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1981. "Wage Bargaining and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 896-908, December.
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