The Wage Response to a Reduction in Income Tax Rates: The Israeli Tax Reform

  • 1 Bank of Israel, 2 Eliezer Kaplan St, Kiryat Ben Gurion, Jerusalem, Israel
Roni FrishORCID iD:, Noam Zussman and Sophia Igdalov


This study examines the effect of an income tax reform on wages. An Israeli reform implemented in 2003–2009 reduced individuals’ marginal income tax rate by 7–17 percentage points. We utilized the differential and non-monotonic marginal tax rate reduction, and used Israel Tax Authority panel data of wage earners, merged with Labor Force Surveys. We found that in the business sector, the elasticity of reported gross wages relative to the net-of-tax rate is about 0.1. The wage earners in the lowest wage quintile were not affected by the tax reform, those in the second and third quintiles did not respond to the tax cut, but elasticity increased with wage, reaching about 0.4 in the upper decile. We did not find statistically significant differences in elasticity by gender, ethnicity, or education.

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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy (BEJEAP) is an international forum for scholarship that employs microeconomics to analyze issues in business, consumer behavior and public policy. Topics include the interaction of firms, the functioning of markets, the effects of domestic and international policy and the design of organizations and institutions.