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Adjust Me if I Can’t: The Effect of Firm Incentives on Labor Supply Responses to Taxes

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  • Tazhitdinova, Alisa

Abstract

I provide theoretical and empirical evidence on the importance of statu- tory incidence in labor markets in the presence of asymmetric frictions. Using a theoretical model I show that labor supply responses are stronger when the statutory incidence of taxes or labor rules falls on firms, even when wages can adjust freely. I explore these mechanisms by studying labor responses to incentives generated by the “Mini-Job” program aimed at increasing labor supply of low-income individuals in Germany. Using administrative data, I show evidence of a strong behavioral response – in the form of sharp bunching – to the mini-job threshold that generates large discontinuous changes both in the marginal tax rates and in the total in- come and payroll tax liability of individuals in Germany. Sharp bunching translates into elasticity estimates that are an order of magnitude larger than has been previously estimated using the bunching approach. To ex- plain the magnitude of the observed response, I show that in addition to tax rates, fringe benefit payments also change at the threshold. Mini-job workers receive smaller yearly bonuses and fewer vacation days but are paid higher gross wages than regular workers. These results indicate that lower fringe benefits make mini-jobs attractive to employers, thus facilitating labor supply responses in accordance with the model’s predictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Tazhitdinova, Alisa, 2015. "Adjust Me if I Can’t: The Effect of Firm Incentives on Labor Supply Responses to Taxes," MPRA Paper 81611, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:81611
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/81611/1/MPRA_paper_81611.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Luke Haywood & Michael Neumann, 2017. "The Role of Aggregate Preferences for Labor Supply: Evidence from Low-Paid Employment," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1652, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    2. Guido Friebel & Matthias Heinz & Miriam Krueger & Nikolay Zubanov, 2017. "Team Incentives and Performance: Evidence from a Retail Chain," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(8), pages 2168-2203, August.
    3. repec:kap:itaxpf:v:26:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s10797-018-9493-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Philippe Ruh & Stefan Staubli, 2018. "Financial Incentives and Earnings of Disability Insurance Recipients: Evidence from a Notch Design," NBER Working Papers 24830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Matthias Collischon & Kamila Cygan-Rehm & Regina T. Riphahn, 2018. "Employment Effects of Payroll Tax Subsidies," CESifo Working Paper Series 7111, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Youssef Benzarti & Dorian Carloni & Jarkko Harju & Tuomas Kosonen, 2017. "What Goes Up May Not Come Down: Asymmetric Incidence of Value-Added Taxes," NBER Working Papers 23849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Zaresani, Arezou, 2019. "Adjustment Costs and Incentives to Work: Evidence from a Disability Insurance Program," IZA Discussion Papers 12136, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Payroll Tax; Income Tax; Earnings Elasticity; Incidence; Fringe Benefits;

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H32 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Firm
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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