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Tax Credits For Employment Rather Than Investment: A Comment


  • Grady, Patrick


In an article in the American Economic Review, Jonathan R. Kesselman, Samuel H. Williamson and Ernst R. Berndt presented a Table showing the effect of substituting a marginal employment tax credit (METC)for the investment tax credit (ITC) over the 1962 to 1971 period. Their METC was defined in terms of a rate times the increase in the wage bi11 over a base defined to be the previous year's value. Any base, including the previous year's wage bill base, is of course merely a proxy for what employment might be in the absence of a credit. However, needless to say, some bases are better than others. In this comment, it is argued that the previous year's level is an inappropriate way to define a base for a permanent METC that is directed at encouraging the long-run substitution of labour for capital. A better definition for a wage bill base would be something that does not ratchet up over time decreasing the value of the credit. The paper also includes a few observations on the relevance of this analysis for the 1977 U.S. Job Credit which has a base as defined by Kessleman, Williamson and Berndt, but which is an explicitly temporary measure that will only be in effect in 1977 and 1978.

Suggested Citation

  • Grady, Patrick, 1977. "Tax Credits For Employment Rather Than Investment: A Comment," MPRA Paper 26401, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:26401

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Baldwin, Carliss Y, 1983. "Productivity and Labor Unions: An Application of the Theory of Self-Enforcing Contracts," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(2), pages 155-185, April.
    2. Stephen G. Bronars & Donald R. Deere, 1991. "The Threat of Unionization, the Use of Debt, and the Preservation of Shareholder Wealth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(1), pages 231-254.
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    More about this item


    tax credits; employment; fiscal policy; the 1977 Job Credit;

    JEL classification:

    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand


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