DP2989 Taxes, Subsidies and Equilibrium Labour Market Outcomes

Author(s): Dale T Mortensen, Christopher Pissarides
Publication Date: October 2001
Keyword(s): employment subsidies, employment taxes, firing tax, hiring subsidy, search and matching, unemployment, wage inequality, wage taxes
JEL(s): H23, J31, J64, J68
Programme Areas: Labour Economics
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=2989

We explore the effects of taxes and subsidies on job creation, job destruction, employment and wages in the Mortensen-Pissarides version of the search and matching equilibrium framework. Qualitative analytical results show that wage and employment subsidies increase employment, especially of low skill workers, and also increase wages. A job creation or hiring subsidy reduces unemployment duration but increases incidence with an ambiguous effect on overall employment. A firing tax has the reverse effects but the same indeterminacy. In the special case of a competitive search equilibrium, in which search externalities are internalized, there is a first best configuration. The results are: no tax on the wage, an employment subsidy that offsets the distortions on the job destruction margin induced by unemployment compensation and employment protection policy, as well as a hiring subsidy equal to the implicit tax on severance imposed by any form of employment protection. The costs of these and other policies are financed by a non-distortionary consumption tax. Computational experiments confirm this ideal also determines the direction in which marginal improvements can be made both in terms of efficiency and in terms of improving low skill worker employment and wage outcomes.