Do place-based tax incentives create jobs?

Link to article:



Ku, Hyejin, Uta Schõnberg and Ragnhild C. Schreiner




Journal of Public Economics

Vol 191


In this paper, we evaluate the effects of payroll tax changes on firm behavior, by exploiting a unique policy setting in Norway, where a system of geographically differentiated payroll taxes was suddenly abolished due to an EU regulation. We find that firms are only partially able to shift the increased costs from higher payroll tax rates onto workers’ wages. Instead, firms respond to the tax increase primarily by reducing employment. The drop in employment following the tax reform is particularly pronounced in labor intensive firms-which experience a larger windfall loss due to the tax reform than non-labor intensive firms-and in multi-establishment firms-which respond to the payroll tax increase in part by reducing the number of establishments per firm. Overall, our findings point to liquidity effects whereby a sudden and largely unexpected payroll tax increase aggravates firms’ liquidity constraints, forcing them to cut employment to bring down costs.


D22, H25, H32, J18, J23


Place-based policiesPayroll taxesRegional tax incentivesLabor costFirm behavior


Oppdragsgiver: NFR via UiO/OFS
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Frisch prosjekt: 2107 - Oslo Fiscal Studies - A Centre for Empirical Research in Public Finance