Taxes and the labour supply in Europe

Richard Rogerson, 2008. "Structural Transformation and the Deterioration of European Labor Market Outcomes", Journal of Political Economy found that:
1. Hours worked per adult in France, Germany, Italy Europe decline by almost 45% compared to the US since 1956
2. The decline occurs at a steady pace from 1956 until the mid 1990s, in contrast to the fact that the relative increase in unemployment occurs in the mid 1970s.
3. The decline in hours worked in Europe is almost entirely accounted for by the fact that Europe develops a much smaller service sector than the US.
4. Relative increases in taxes and technological catch-up can account for most of the differences between the European and American time allocations to the market and outside over this per.

Ohanian, Rao and Rogerson 2008 in "Work and taxes: allocation of time in OECD countries" found
1. A steep decline in average hours worked per adult and large variations across OECD member countries in the magnitude of this decline.
2. Changes in labour taxes accounted for a large share of the trend differences.
3. Countries with high tax rates devote less time to market work, but more time to home activities, such as cooking and cleaning.
4. This reallocation of time from market work to home work is much stronger for females than for males.

The higher elasticities of labour supply of women, and married women and mothers are beyond dispute. Modern empirical labour economics as led by Mincer was built around explaining female and joint labour supply.

Richard Rogerson, 2007 in "Taxation and market work: is Scandinavia an outlier?" Economic Theory, found that how the government spends tax revenues when assessing the effects of tax rates on aggregate hours of market work.
1. Different forms of government spending imply different elasticities of hours of work with regard to tax rates.
2. While tax rates are highest in Scandinavia, hours worked in Scandinavia are significantly higher than they are in Continental Europe with differences in the form of government spending can potentially account for this pattern.
3. There is a much higher rate of government employment and greater expenditures on child and elderly care in Scandinavia.

Examining how tax revenue is spent is central to understanding labour supply effects:
1. If higher taxes fund disability payments which may only be received when not in work, the effect on hours worked is greater relative to a lump-sum transfer.
2. If higher taxes subsidise day care for individuals who work, then the effect on hours of work will be less than under the lump-sum transfer case.

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