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Taxation and the Structure of Labor Markets: The Case of Corporatism

  • Lawrence H. Summers
  • Jonathan Gruber
  • Rodrigo Vergara

We propose an explanation for the wide variation in rates of taxation across developed economies, based on differences in labor market institutions. In "corporatist" economies, which feature centralized labor markets, taxes on labor input will be less distortionary than when labor supply is determined individually. Since the level of labor supply is set by a small group of decision-makers, these individuals will recognize the linkage between the taxes that workers pay and the benefits that they receive. Labor tax burdens are indeed higher in more corporatist nations, and non-labor taxes are lower, which is consistent with this theory. There is also some evidence that the distortionary effects of labor taxes are lower in more corporatist economies.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4063.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4063.

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Date of creation: May 1992
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Publication status: published as Quarterly Journal of Economics, May 1993
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4063
Note: PE
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  1. Barro, R.J., 1989. "Economic Growth In A Cross Section Of Countries," RCER Working Papers 201, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  2. Card, David, 1990. "Unexpected Inflation, Real Wages, and Employment Determination in Union Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 669-88, September.
  3. Robert J. Gordon, 1991. "Productivity, Wages, and Prices Inside and Outside of Manufacturing in the U.S., Japan, and Europe," NBER Chapters, in: International Volatility and Economic Growth: The First Ten Years of The International Seminar on Macroeconomics, pages 153-207 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Oswald, Andrew J, 1982. "The Microeconomic Theory of the Trade Union," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(367), pages 576-95, September.
  5. MaCurdy, Thomas E & Pencavel, John H, 1986. "Testing between Competing Models of Wage and Employment Determination in Unionized Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages S3-S39, June.
  6. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1981. "Wage Bargaining and Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 896-908, December.
  7. Bean, C R & Layard, P R G & Nickell, S J, 1986. "The Rise in Unemployment: A Multi-country Study," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 53(210(S)), pages S1-22, Supplemen.
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