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Income Taxes and Entrepreneurs' Use of Labor

  • Robert Carroll
  • Douglas Holtz-Eakin
  • Mark Rider
  • Harvey S. Rosen

This paper investigates the effect of entrepreneurs' personal income tax situations on their use of labor. We analyze the income tax returns of a large number of sole proprietors before and after the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and determine how the substantial reductions in marginal tax rates associated with that law affected their decisions to hire labor and the size of their wage bills. We find that individual income taxes exert a statistically and quantitatively significant influence on the probability that an entrepreneur hires workers. Raising the entrepreneur's tax price' (one minus the marginal tax rate) by 10 percent raises the mean probability of hiring workers by about 12 percent. Further, conditional on hiring employees, taxes also influence the total wage payments to those workers. The elasticity of the median wage bill with respect to the tax price is about 0.37.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6578.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6578.

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Date of creation: May 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of Labor Economics, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 324-351, 1999.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6578
Note: PE
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  1. Marc Cowling & Mark Taylor & Peter Mitchell, 2004. "Job Creators," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 72(5), pages 601-617, 09.
  2. Buchinsky, Moshe, 1995. "Estimating the asymptotic covariance matrix for quantile regression models a Monte Carlo study," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 303-338, August.
  3. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1993. "Small Business and Job Creation: Dissecting the Myth and Reassessing theFacts," NBER Working Papers 4492, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Barton H. Hamilton, 2000. "Does Entrepreneurship Pay? An Empirical Analysis of the Returns to Self-Employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 604-631, June.
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