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Measuring the Tax Incidence of Social Security Taxes in China: Evidence from a Quasi-Natural Experiment of Tax Collection Entity Shift
International Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Volume 8, Issue 4, December 2020, Pages: 101-106
Received: Dec. 23, 2020; Accepted: Jan. 5, 2021; Published: Jan. 12, 2021
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Fei Han, School of Public Finance and Taxation, Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing, China
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Measuring the tax incidence is a classical yet on-going debate in public economics and public finance. It is also an important issue for policymaking because it provides information of the impact of labour costs on firm decisions. However, the incidence varies across different environments, but the existing literature mostly draws on the experience of developed countries, leaving the developing countries under-investigated. To fill the gap in the literature, this study focuses on China’s case. Its significance derives from the fact that China’s rapid-growing economy relies on its massive population and labour migration while its firms are sensitive to its high social security tax rates. Moreover, the identification of the underlying causality can be failed due to selection bias and simultaneity. Thus, this study exploits a quasi-natural experiment of social security tax collection entity shift to unravel the underlying causal link from social security tax burden to the employment and wages. Drawing a large sample of firm-level data of the above-scale firms in the manufacturing sector of China, this study takes an instrumental variable approach and finds out that the social security taxes significantly suppresses wages by 3.08 percent. Whereas lowered wages increase the employment in turn by 5.26 percent, also suggesting that the tax burden is shared by both the employer and the employee. As for heterogeneities, the empirical evidence of this study shows that the cost effect of social security is more significant in China’s coastal regions where the manufacturing agglomeration is higher, in large-scale firms that have annual income more than 50 million yuan per year, and in non-state-owned firms.
Tax Incidence, Social Security Tax, Collection Entity Shift
To cite this article
Fei Han, Measuring the Tax Incidence of Social Security Taxes in China: Evidence from a Quasi-Natural Experiment of Tax Collection Entity Shift, International Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. Vol. 8, No. 4, 2020, pp. 101-106. doi: 10.11648/j.ijebo.20200804.13
Copyright © 2020 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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