Hours worked vary widely across countries and over time. In this paper, we investigate the role played by taxation in explaining these differences for EU New Member States. By extending a standard growth model with novel data on consumption and labor taxes, we assess the evolution of trends in hours worked over the 1995-2017 period. We find that the inclusion of tax rates in the model significantly improves the tracking of hours. We also estimate the elasticity of hours (and its different margins) to quantify the deadweight loss introduced by consumption and labor taxes. We find that these taxes explain a large share of labor supply differences across EU New Member States and that the potential gains from policy actions are noteworthy.
Euro-area real wages have decelerated sharply in the last 20 years, but this has not yet translated into visibly lower unemployment or faster growth. Weak output growth after such a cost shock is somewhat puzzling and has led some to question the benefits of wage moderation. By isolating structural from cyclical factors in a panel of industrial countries, I show that structurally slower real wage growth, that is, "wage moderation," does raise output growth and lower unemployment rates. However, I show that the impact on both variables depends crucially on product market regulation: weaker competition and barriers to entry mute the growth effects of structural real wage changes by allowing incumbent firms to appropriate larger rents. In this context, overly regulated product markets in the euro area are undermining the effects of labor market reforms on output and employment.
, (iv) extra payments / bribes / favoritism, (v) licensing restrictions and (vi) cost of tax compliance.
Labor mkt. regulation
A higher number indicates more regulation in the labor market. It is based on a comprehensive index including: (i) hiring regulations and minimum wage (ii) hiring and firing regulations (iii) centralized collective bargaining (iv) hours regulations (v) mandated cost of worker dismissal (vi) conscription.
Personal remittances as a percentage of GDP.
This Selected Issues paper for euro area policies analyzes the product market regulation and benefits of wage moderation. The paper identifies structural shifts in the relationship between wages and unemployment rates—a “wage curve”—in 20 industrial countries. It reviews euro area and cross-country developments in labor costs and their bivariate relationship with unemployment rates and business GDP. The paper also examines aspects of the European Central Bank’s monetary analysis, within the context of their overall two-pillar policy framework, and issues surrounding its use.