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Session Overview
Session
H04: Labor Market Policy and Taxation
Time:
Thursday, 20/Aug/2020:
1:15pm - 2:45pm


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Presentations
1:15pm - 1:37pm

Optimal Taxation of Robots

Uwe Thuemmel

University of Zurich, Switzerland

I study the optimal taxation of robots and labor income. In the model, robots substitute for routine labor and complement non-routine labor. I show that while it is optimal to distort robot adoption, robots may be either taxed or subsidized. The robot tax exploits general-equilibrium effects to compress the wage distribution. Wage compression reduces income-tax distortions of labor supply, thereby raising welfare. In the calibrated model, the optimal robot tax for the US is positive and generates small welfare gains. As the price of robots falls, inequality rises but the robot tax and its welfare impact become negligible.

Thuemmel-Optimal Taxation of Robots-587.pdf


1:37pm - 2:00pm

The Dynamics Of Earnings, Labor Market Transitions, And Earnings Inequality In Sweden

Johan Erik Holmberg

Umeå University, Sweden

In this paper I build a life cycle earning dynamics model including endogenous employment and job changes and estimate it with indirect inference using Swedish register data. Using this model I provide some insight on the sources of life cycle earning inequality and their relative importance and the role of education, accumulation of general and firm specific experience, unobserved heterogeneity and job changes for career development, employment and the accumulation of pension entitlements. The results show that unemployment has large effects on life cycle earnings and employment status, and that general accumulation of experience is more important than firm specific experience in determining labor market outcomes in Sweden.

Holmberg-The Dynamics Of Earnings, Labor Market Transitions, And Earnings Inequality-360.pdf


2:00pm - 2:22pm

The Impact of Aging and Automation on the Macroeconomy and Inequality

Nikolai Stähler

Deutsche Bundesbank, Germany

We build a life-cycle model in which a representative firm produces a final good using routine and non-routine labor and capital. Routine labor can be substituted for by automation capital (e.g. robots). We show that both, population aging and higher robot productivity, foster the increased use of robotics. Population aging decreases and technological progress in automation technologies increases output per capita in the long run. Inequality in labor income, wealth and consumption increases. Hence, although expected advances in automation technologies are able to mitigate or circumvent output losses in the aggregate, this comes at the cost of increased inequality. Our analysis thus suggests that reaping the benefits from technological progress will require promoting inclusion and participation of those who are likely to lose. Our model seems suitable to serve as a laboratory for analyzing upcoming policy suggestions in this direction.

Stähler-The Impact of Aging and Automation on the Macroeconomy and Inequality-388.pdf


2:22pm - 2:45pm

It Takes Two To Tango: Labor Responses To An Income Tax Holiday In Argentina

Dario Tortarolo1, Guillermo Cruces2, Victoria Castillo3

1University of California, Berkeley; 2University of Nottingham; 3Ministry of Labor

We exploit a large and quasi-randomized 2.5 year-long income tax holiday to identify intertemporal labor responses of high-wage earners to net wage changes. In August 2013, the Argentine government exempted a group of wage earners from the income tax and left the remaining group taxed until February 2016, when the holiday was repealed. Eligibility was based on whether past wage earnings were below a fixed threshold, creating a discontinuity that treated workers who coexist in the same labor market with sharply different marginal and average tax rates---0% for workers below the threshold. Using rich administrative data and an RDD approach, we estimate a precise and very small wage earnings elasticity of 0.02 to this large, salient, and temporary income tax change. We show evidence that low responses might be driven by labor demand constraints and rigidities, and that employer-employee cooperation is required for wage earners to respond to tax changes.

Tortarolo-It Takes Two To Tango-422.pdf


 
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