Benjamin Schoefer

Department of Economics
University of California at Berkeley
530 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of California at Berkeley

NBER Working Papers and Publications

January 2019Marginal Jobs and Job Surplus: A Test of the Efficiency of Separations
with Simon Jäger, Josef Zweimüller: w25492
By the influential “Coasean” theory of employment relationships, job separations occur only once the worker and the employer have exhausted all remaining gains from trade through flexible bargaining and unrestricted contracting, with joint job surplus hence having turned negative. Our strategy to study this empirically elusive view is to track jobs longitudinally over the course of the introduction and sudden abolition of a policy that subsidized nonemployment and hence lowered job surplus: an age-and-region-specific extension of the maximum duration of unemployment benefits from one to four years in Austria. We document that this program destroyed 10.9ppt of jobs (a 27% increase in the separation rate). By the Coasean theory, these separations must have extracted marginal (low-surplus) jo...
November 2018Wages and the Value of Nonemployment
with Simon Jäger, Samuel G. Young, Josef Zweimüller: w25230
Nonemployment is often posited as a worker’s outside option in wage setting models such as bargaining and wage posting. The value of nonemployment is therefore a key determinant of wages. We measure the wage effect of changes in the value of nonemployment among initially employed workers. Our quasi-experimental variation in the value of nonemployment arises from four large reforms of unemployment insurance (UI) benefit levels in Austria. We document that wages are insensitive to UI benefit changes: point estimates imply a wage response of less than $0.01 per $1.00 UI benefit increase, and we can reject sensitivities larger than $0.03. The insensitivity holds even among workers with low wages and high predicted unemployment duration, and among job switchers and recently unemployed workers. ...
October 2017Payroll Taxes, Firm Behavior, and Rent Sharing: Evidence from a Young Workers' Tax Cut in Sweden
with Emmanuel Saez, David Seim: w23976
This paper uses administrative data to analyze a large and long-lasting employer payroll tax rate cut from 31% down to 15% for young workers (aged 26 or less) in Sweden. We find a zero effect on net-of-tax wages of young treated workers relative to slightly older untreated workers, even in the medium run (after six years). Simple graphical cohort analysis shows compelling positive effects on the employment rate of the treated young workers, of about 2-3 percentage points, which arise primarily from fewer separations (rather than more hiring). These employment effects are larger in places with initially higher youth unemployment rates. We also analyze the firm-level effects of the tax cut. We sort firms by the size of the tax windfall and trace out graphically the time series of firms' out...

Published: Emmanuel Saez & Benjamin Schoefer & David Seim, 2019. "Payroll Taxes, Firm Behavior, and Rent Sharing: Evidence from a Young Workers' Tax Cut in Sweden," American Economic Review, vol 109(5), pages 1717-1763.

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