Marginal Employment Subsidization

A New Concept and a Reappraisal

  • Andreas Knabe
  • Ronnie Schöb
  • Joachim Weimann
Schlagworte: unemployment, marginal employment subsidies, JEL: J38, J68, H25


In this paper, we attempt to renew the interest in marginal employment subsidies. Such subsidies are paid only for a firm's additional employment exceeding some reference level and create larger employment stimuli at lower fiscal costs than general wage subsidies for all workers. If the hiring of a new employee also entails subsidizing an incumbent worker (double marginal subsidization), the replacement of regular paid workers by outsourcing employment to newly established firms - a standard critique of marginal employment subsidies - can be avoided. This additional subsidy reduces the incentive to crowd out regular employment and results in even larger employment effects. Applying the subsidy scheme to the low-skill labor market in Germany, we show that employment can be substantially increased without imposing additional fiscal burden.