NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Does Mandating Social Insurance Affect Entrepreneurial Activity?

Youssef Benzarti, Jarkko Harju, Tuomas Matikka

NBER Working Paper No. 25651
Issued in March 2019
NBER Program(s):Public Economics Program

This paper estimates the effect of relaxing the social insurance mandate on entrepreneurial activity. We use a unique discontinuity in Finland that allows certain entrepreneurs not to pay social insurance contributions on their income. Using rich administrative data, we find that relaxing the social insurance mandate leads entrepreneurs to significantly reduce their contributions, which they channel instead into their firms. While young firms use this windfall to increase business activity, older ones use it to improve their net lending position by purchasing stocks. Our results imply that the social insurance mandate is binding and its efficiency cost is heterogeneous.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25651

 
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