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Optimal tax progressivity in unionised labour markets: Simulation results for Germany

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  • Boeters, Stefan

Abstract

Changing the income tax progressivity in labour markets with collective wage bargaining generates a trade-off. On the one hand, higher progressivity distorts individual labour supply decisions at the hours-of-work margin, on the other hand, it reduces unemployment by exerting downward pressure on wages. This trade-off is quantitatively assessed using a numerical model for Germany. The model combines a microsimulation module, which captures the labour-supply decisions of approximately 4600 individual households, and a macro (computable general equilibrium) module, which features collective wage bargaining and involuntary unemployment. In the simulations carried out using this model, the optimal degree of tax progressivity turns out to be higher than the one in the actual German tax schedule. The optimum is located at marginal tax rates that are 6 percentage points higher than the actual rates (combined with a transfer that balances the public budget). The welfare gain from such a reform is modest, however. It amounts to no more than two euros per person per month.

Suggested Citation

  • Boeters, Stefan, 2010. "Optimal tax progressivity in unionised labour markets: Simulation results for Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 10-035, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:10035
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    Cited by:

    1. Stefan Boeters & Luc Savard, 2011. "The Labour Market in CGE Models," Cahiers de recherche 11-20, Departement d'Economique de l'École de gestion à l'Université de Sherbrooke.
    2. Dalin, Torbjörn & Stage, Jesper, 2011. "The effects of capital income taxation on wage formation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 186-188.
    3. Boeters, Stefan & Savard, Luc, 2013. "The Labor Market in Computable General Equilibrium Models," Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling, Elsevier.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    labour taxation; tax progressivity; optimal taxation; collective wage bargaining; unemployment; microsimulation; computable general equilibrium model;

    JEL classification:

    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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