Optimal Labor Laws

40 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2017

See all articles by Shiv Dixit

Shiv Dixit

Indian School of Business

Date Written: August 29, 2017


This paper develops a model where a benevolent constitutional planner has the ability to restrict the allocation space of citizens who are heterogeneous in productivity prior to the stochastic determination of a government responsible for structuring the tax system. It finds that limits on cross-sectional dispersion in hours worked can be used as a welfare-enhancing tool to discipline the behavior of elected officials who seek to maximize the objective of their respective constituencies by devising selfishly optimal tax regimes that favor idiosyncratic gains from redistribution over socially suboptimal distortions in the labor wedge. A model calibrated to key moments of the U.S. presidential elections and the Lorenz Curve is consistent with two empirical findings from cross-country data: a positive correlation between maximum workweek limits and skill dispersion, and a negative correlation between minimum wage laws and the proportionality of electoral voting systems.

Keywords: Institution design, labor law, redistributive effects

JEL Classification: D02, K31, H23

Suggested Citation

Dixit, Shiv, Optimal Labor Laws (August 29, 2017). Indian School of Business, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3054977 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3054977

Shiv Dixit (Contact Author)

Indian School of Business ( email )

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Mohali, 143006

HOME PAGE: http://shivdixit.com

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