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Effects of Labor Taxes on Hours of Market and Home Work: The Role of International Capital Mobility and Trade

  • Hian Teck Hoon

    ()

    (School of Economics, Singapore Management University)

This paper evaluates the Prescott (2004) hypothesis that permanently higher payroll taxes fully explain the decline in number of market hours worked in Europe (relative to America) over three decades. The Prescott model made assumptions that, in steady state, left out any incentive for either international capital mobility or international exchange of goods. We study a one-good model where the imposition of higher payroll taxes in one region leads to higher domestic real interest rate in that region. As a result, there are incentives for international capital outflows into the high payroll tax region with the consequence that number of market hours worked in the low payroll tax region also decline. With identical tastes and rate of time discount across the two regions, we find that the number of hours worked in the market, home work, and leisure are equalized across the two regions. In the multi-good model, when factor price equalization holds so free trade acts as a substitute for factor mobility, we show that there is also equalization of market work, home work, and leisure across the two regions.

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Paper provided by Singapore Management University, School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 05-2010.

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Date of creation: Apr 2010
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Publication status: Published in SMU Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series
Handle: RePEc:siu:wpaper:05-2010
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  1. Richard B. Freeman & Ronald Schettkat, 2005. "Marketization of household production and the EU–US gap in work," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(41), pages 6-50, 01.
  2. Hian Hoon, 1996. "Payroll taxes and VAT in a labor-turnover model of the ‘natural rate’," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 3(3), pages 369-383, July.
  3. Findlay, Ronald, 1970. "Factor Proportions and Comparative Advantage in the Long Run," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 27-34, Jan.-Feb..
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