Who's In? Who's Out? Policy to Address Job Rationing During Recessions
70 Tax Law Review 627 (2017)
40 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2017 Last revised: 8 Feb 2018
Date Written: December 2017
This paper offers recommendations for how the design of labor income taxes should change during recessions, based on a simple model of a recessionary economy in which jobs are rationed and some employees value working more than others do. The paper draws two counter-intuitive conclusions for maximizing social welfare. First, subsidize non-employment. This draws marginal workers out of the labor force, creating “space” for those who really need jobs. Second, subsidize employers for hiring, not the employees themselves. The problem during recessions is having too few jobs; subsidizing employers creates more jobs, while subsidizing employees confers benefits on those who already won the job lottery. Tax policy in the recent recession has done a poor job of following these recommendations.
Keywords: tax policy, income taxation, tax law
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation