Creator: Chodorow-Reich, Gabriel and Karabarbounis, Loukas Series: Working paper (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 733 Abstract:
By how much does an extension of unemployment benefits affect macroeconomic outcomes such as unemployment? Answering this question is challenging because U.S. law extends benefits for states experiencing high unemployment. We use data revisions to decompose the variation in the duration of benefits into the part coming from actual differences in economic conditions and the part coming from measurement error in the real-time data used to determine benefit extensions. Using only the variation coming from measurement error, we find that benefit extensions have a limited influence on state-level macroeconomic outcomes. We use our estimates to quantify the effects of the increase in the duration of benefits during the Great Recession and find that they increased the unemployment rate by at most 0.3 percentage point.
Keyword: Unemployment, Unemployment insurance, and Measurement error Subject (JEL): E62 - Fiscal Policy, J64 - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search, J65 - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings, and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
Creator: Guvenen, Fatih, Kuruscu, Burhanettin, and Ozkan, Serdar Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 438 Abstract:
Wage inequality has been significantly higher in the United States than in continental European countries (CEU) since the 1970s. Moreover, this inequality gap has further widened during this period as the US has experienced a large increase in wage inequality, whereas the CEU has seen only modest changes. This paper studies the role of labor income tax policies for understanding these facts. We begin by documenting two new empirical facts that link these inequality differences to tax policies. First, we show that countries with more progressive labor income tax schedules have significantly lower before-tax wage inequality at different points in time. Second, progressivity is also negatively correlated with the rise in wage inequality during this period. We then construct a life cycle model in which individuals decide each period whether to go to school, work, or be unemployed. Individuals can accumulate skills either in school or while working. Wage inequality arises from differences across individuals in their ability to learn new skills as well as from idiosyncratic shocks. Progressive taxation compresses the (after-tax) wage structure, thereby distorting the incentives to accumulate human capital, in turn reducing the cross-sectional dispersion of (before-tax) wages. We find that these policies can account for half of the difference between the US and the CEU in overall wage inequality and 76% of the difference in inequality at the upper end (log 90-50 differential). When this economy experiences skill-biased technological change, progressivity also dampens the rise in wage dispersion over time. The model explains 41% of the difference in the total rise in inequality and 58% of the difference at the upper end.
Keyword: Progressive taxation, Human capital, Ben-Porath, Skillbiased technical change, Wage inequality, and Labour income tax Subject (JEL): E62 - Fiscal Policy and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
Creator: Chari, V. V. and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 376 Abstract:
Theoretical advances in macroeconomics made in the last three decades have had a major influence on macroeconomic policy analysis. Moreover, over the last several decades, the United States and other countries have undertaken a variety of policy changes that are precisely what macroeconomic theory of the last 30 years suggests. The three key developments that have shaped macroeconomic policy analysis are the Lucas critique of policy evaluation due to Robert Lucas, the time inconsistency critique of discretionary policy due to Finn Kydland and Edward Prescott, and the development of quantitative dynamic stochastic general equilibrium models following Finn Kydland and Edward Prescott.
Subject (JEL): E31 - Price Level; Inflation; Deflation, H21 - Taxation and Subsidies: Efficiency; Optimal Taxation, E52 - Monetary Policy, E62 - Fiscal Policy, and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
Creator: Prescott, Edward C. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 321 Abstract:
Americans now work 50 percent more than do the Germans, French, and Italians. This was not the case in the early 1970s when the Western Europeans worked more than Americans. In this paper, I examine the role of taxes in accounting for the differences in labor supply across time and across countries, in particular, the effective marginal tax rate on labor income. The population of countries considered is that of the G-7 countries, which are major advanced industrial countries. The surprising finding is that this marginal tax rate accounts for the predominance of the differences at points in time and the large change in relative labor supply over time with the exception of the Italian labor supply in the early 1970s.
Keyword: International Tax Rates, International Labor Supply, and Social Security Reform Subject (JEL): E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, E62 - Fiscal Policy, H20 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue: General, and E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity