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Has the Government Lowered the Hours Worked? Evidence from Japan

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  • Ko, Jun-Hyung

Abstract

Why does the hours worked show a decreasing pattern in the postwar Japanese economy? This paper answers this question in the background of the changing pattern of government spending and tax-imposing behaviors. We construct and simulate a standard optimal growth model with the following key features: various taxes and subsidies. Our main findings are as follows. First, we quantitatively find that the increasing pattern of taxes on labor income played a crucial role in influencing the declining pattern of hours worked in Japan. Second, consumption tax and subsidy have a limited role in explaining the labor supply because they cancel each other out. Third, pension benefit may influence the retirement of the people in their sixties but has a minor effect on the hours worked. Fourth, the legal reduction in the workweek length in 1990 can explain the low level of the hours worked since 1990. Fifth, subsistence consumption can account for the slope of hours worked but cannot explain the long-run level.

Suggested Citation

  • Ko, Jun-Hyung, 2011. "Has the Government Lowered the Hours Worked? Evidence from Japan," MPRA Paper 30058, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:30058
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/30058/1/MPRA_paper_30058.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Richard Rogerson, 2006. "Understanding Differences in Hours Worked," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(3), pages 365-409, July.
    2. MIYAZAWA Kensuke, 2010. "Pension Benefit and Hours Worked," Discussion papers 10004, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    3. Edward C. Prescott, 2004. "Why do Americans work so much more than Europeans?," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Jul, pages 2-13.
    4. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Razin, Assaf & Tesar, Linda L., 1994. "Effective tax rates in macroeconomics: Cross-country estimates of tax rates on factor incomes and consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 297-323, December.
    5. Otsu Keisuke, 2009. "A Neoclassical Analysis of the Postwar Japanese Economy," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-30, May.
    6. R. Anton Braun & Daisuke Ikeda & Douglas H. Joines, 2009. "The Saving Rate In Japan: Why It Has Fallen And Why It Will Remain Low," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 291-321, February.
    7. Fumio Hayashi & Edward C. Prescott, 2008. "The Depressing Effect of Agricultural Institutions on the Prewar Japanese Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(4), pages 573-632, August.
    8. Gunji, Hiroshi & Miyazaki, Kenji, 2011. "Estimates of average marginal tax rates on factor incomes in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 81-106, June.
    9. Naohiro Yashiro & Takashi Oshio, 1999. "Social Security and Retirement in Japan," NBER Chapters,in: Social Security and Retirement around the World, pages 239-267 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Selo Imrohoroglu & Kaiji Chen & Ayse Imrohoroglu, 2005. "Japanese Saving Rate," 2005 Meeting Papers 747, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. Watanabe, Katsunori & Watanabe, Takayuki & Watanabe, Tsutomu, 2001. "Tax policy and consumer spending: evidence from Japanese fiscal experiments," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 261-281, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    marginal tax rate; subsidy; hours worked; pension benefit;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity

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