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Working Paper 219


The Governors of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and several other states have recently proposed employer tax credits as measures to fight high unemployment in their states. Such policies are also being consid-ered at the federal level. The authors find that such policies, in fact, do little to increase aggregate de-mand, and instead only modestly reduce the after-tax cost of labor in an economy with high unemployment, falling wages, and weak demand They suggest a more effective approach to creating jobs in the states: increasing spending in labor-intensive sectors and programs that are matched by federal funds, such as Medicaid. These expenditures would be particularly effective if they were financed through temporary high-income tax increases.

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