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CEP/STICERD Applications Seminars

The Impact of Payroll Tax Subsidies: Theory and Evidence

Attila Lindner (UCL), joint with Aniko Biro, Réka Branyiczki, Lili Márk and Dániel Prinz

Monday 13 December 2021 16:00 - 17:30

Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.

Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.

About this event

We study the employment and wage effects of age-dependent payroll tax subsidies for both younger (under 25) and older (over 55) workers using a policy change in Hungary. Using rich administrative data and a difference-in-differences strategy, we find that employment increases in both age groups as a result of the payroll tax cut, but the effects differ by job and firm characteristics. Employment of older workers mostly increases blue collar jobs and at less productive and lower-quality firms. On the other hand, employment of older workers at more productive and higher-quality firms is unaffected, but their wages increase in response to the tax cut. We explain these findings using an equilibrium job search model with heterogeneous firms and workers. In the model, more productive firms hire skilled workers by poaching them from other firms. Tax reduction for these firms mainly increase worker's wages, while employment is not affected. On the other hand, low-productivity firms, which tend to hire from unemployment, mainly react to the tax subsidy by increasing employment and the effect on wages is limited. These results point to important heterogeneity in the incidence of payroll tax subsides by firm and worker types: the incidence mainly falls on low-productivity firms, and higher-skilled workers.

Applications (Applied Micro) Seminars are held on Mondays in term time at 12:00-13:30 in 3.05 in person.

Seminar organiser: Jörn-Steffen Pischke

For further information please contact Lubala Chibwe, either by email:

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