Unemployment Insurance Taxes and Labor Demand: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Administrative Data

74 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2017 Last revised: 17 Jan 2019

See all articles by Andrew C. Johnston

Andrew C. Johnston

University of California, Merced - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 2019

Abstract

To finance unemployment insurance benefits, states raise payroll taxes on employers who engage in layoffs. Since tax rates increase in response to layoffs, taxes are highest for troubled firms after downturns, potentially hampering labor demand and employment during recoveries. Using full-population administrative records from Florida, I estimate the causal effect of these targeted tax increases on firm behavior leveraging a regression kink design in the tax schedule. UI tax hikes reduce firm hiring and employment substantially, with no effect on layoffs or worker earnings. The results imply unanticipated costs of the financing regime which reduce the optimal benefit calculation.

Keywords: Unemployment, Taxation, Labor Demand

JEL Classification: D22, H22, H25, H71, J23, J32, J38, J65

Suggested Citation

Johnston, Andrew C., Unemployment Insurance Taxes and Labor Demand: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Administrative Data (January 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3062412 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3062412

Andrew C. Johnston (Contact Author)

University of California, Merced - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 2039
Merced, CA 95344
United States

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