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Wage Subsidies and Fair Wages

Tomer Blumkin, Haim Pinhas and Ro'i Zultan ()

European Economic Review, 2020, vol. 127, issue C

Abstract: Wage subsidies can be provided directly to the worker, or indirectly by subsidizing the employer; with reduced cost of labor, employers offer higher wages. The standard literature stipulates that this statutory incidence bears no implications for the economic incidence. We propose and test a mechanism by which indirect subsidies lead to higher social welfare. Studies show that workers reciprocate higher wages with higher effort. Indirect subsidies are shifted to the workers as higher wages, leading workers to reciprocate with higher effort and productivity. A controlled laboratory experiment supports our behavioral hypotheses and confirms the behavioral and welfare implications.

Keywords: Wage subsidies; Welfare; Gift exchange; Tax incidence; Laboratory experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C92 H21 H22 H53 J33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2020.103497

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European Economic Review is currently edited by T.S. Eicher, A. Imrohoroglu, E. Leeper, J. Oechssler and M. Pesendorfer

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