Corporate Income Taxes and Labor: An Investigation of Empirical Evidence
13 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2017
Date Written: July 22, 2017
With the highest top marginal corporate tax rate among OECD nations and the third-highest in the world at 35 percent, it is not surprising that policymakers have long evinced a desire to lower the U.S. federal corporate income tax rate. Reducing the corporate income tax rate has implications for a wide-range of outcomes – from federal revenues to foreign direct investment, but the effects of such a change on workers is less understood. This paper examines the empirical literature on the effect of corporate income taxes on labor, specifically on employment and worker incomes. In general, empirical work with the most robust results and controlling for factors of influence outside of corporate income taxes generally have an elasticity of employment with respect to the corporate income tax rate of between -0.2 and -0.4, with a wage/income elasticity near -0.5. In the context of recent tax reform discussions that propose a rate reduction between 30% to 57%, that would imply employment gains between 6% to 22% and wage increases between 15% to 28%.
Keywords: Corporate Income Tax, Employment, Wages, Incidence
JEL Classification: H25, H22
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