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Does Work Pay in France? Monetary Incentives, Hours Constraints and the Guaranteed Minimum Income

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Author Info

  • Marc Gurgand

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris)

  • David Margolis

    ()
    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS : UMR8174 - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne)

Abstract

This paper uses a representative sample of individuals on France's main welfare program (the Revenu Minimum d'Insertion, or RMI) to estimate monetary incentives for employment among welfare recipients. Based on the estimated joint distribution of wages and hours potentially offered to each individual, we compute potential gains from working in a very detailedmanner. Relating these gains to observed employment, we then estimate a simple structural labor supply model. We find that potential gains are almost always positive but very small on average, especially for single mothers,because of the high implicit marginal tax rates embedded in the system. Employment rates are sensitive to incentives with extensive margin elasticitiesfor both men and women usually below one. Conditional on these elasticities, simulations indicate that existing policies devoted to reducing marginal tax rates at the bottom of the income distribution, such as the intéressement earnings top-up program, have little impact in this population due to their very limited scope. The recently introduced negative income tax (Prime pour l'emploi), seems to be an exception.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) with number halshs-00202299.

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Date of creation: Jul 2008
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Publication status: Published, Journal of Public Economics, 2008, 92, 7, 1669-1697
Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-00202299

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Related research

Keywords: Welfare; labor earnings; transfers; tax-system;

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References

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  1. Marc Gurgand & David Margolis, 2001. "RMI et revenus du travail : une évaluation des gains financiers à l'emploi," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 346(1), pages 103-122.
  2. Abowd, John M. & Kramarz, Francis & Margolis, David N. & Philippon, Thomas, 2000. "The Tail of Two Countries: Minimum Wages and Employment in France and the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 203, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Hajivassiliou, Vassilis A. & Ruud, Paul A., 1986. "Classical estimation methods for LDV models using simulation," Handbook of Econometrics, Elsevier, in: R. F. Engle & D. McFadden (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 40, pages 2383-2441 Elsevier.
  4. Arthur van Soest, 1995. "Structural Models of Family Labor Supply: A Discrete Choice Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 63-88.
  5. Guy Laroque & Bernard Salanie, 2002. "Labour market institutions and employment in France," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(1), pages 25-48.
  6. Nada Eissa & Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner, 2004. "Evaluation of Four Tax Reforms in the United States: Labor Supply and Welfare Effects for Single Mothers," NBER Working Papers 10935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Moffitt, Robert A., 2002. "Welfare programs and labor supply," Handbook of Public Economics, Elsevier, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 34, pages 2393-2430 Elsevier.
  8. Francis Kramarz & Thomas Philippon, 2000. "The Impact of Differenctial Payroll Tax Subsidies on Minimum Wage Employment," Working Papers, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique 2000-10, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  9. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "The Negative Income Tax and the Evolution of U.S. Welfare Policy," NBER Working Papers 9751, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Joseph Altonji & Christina Paxson, 1987. "Labor Supply Preferences, Hours Constraints, and Hours-Wage Tradeoffs," Working Papers 594, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  11. Bernard Salanié & Guy Laroque, 1999. "Prélèvements et transferts sociaux : une analyse descriptive des incitations financières au travail," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 328(1), pages 3-19.
  12. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & Thomas Lemieux & David N. Margolis, 2000. "Minimum Wages and Youth Employment in France and the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries, pages 427-472 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Cyrille Hagneré & Nathalie Picard & Alain Trannoy & Karine Van der Straeten, 2003. "L’importance des incitations financières dans l’obtention d’un emploi est-elle surestimée ?," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 160(4), pages 49-78.
  14. Abowd, J.M. & Kramarz, F. & Margolis, D.N., 1998. "Minimum Wages and Employment in France and the United States," Papiers du Laboratoire de Microéconomie Appliquée, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1) 1998-12, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  15. Denis Fougère & Laurence Rioux, 2001. "Le RMI treize ans après : entre redistribution et incitations," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 346(1), pages 3-12.
  16. David N. MARGOLIS, 1996. "Cohort Effects and Returns to Seniority in France," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 41-42, pages 443-464.
  17. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1998. "Welfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers," JCPR Working Papers 32, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  18. Shulamit Kahn & Kevin Lang, 1996. "Hours Constraints and the Wage/Hours Locus," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(s1), pages 71-75, April.
  19. Joseph Altonji & Christina Paxson, 1990. "Labor Supply, Hours Constraints and Job Mobility," Working Papers 651, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  20. Stewart, Mark B & Swaffield, Joanna K, 1997. "Constraints on the Desired Hours of Work of British Men," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 520-35, March.
  21. Dickens, William T & Lundberg, Shelly J, 1993. "Hours Restrictions and Labor Supply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(1), pages 169-92, February.
  22. Marc Gurgand & David Margolis, 2000. "Minima Sociaux et Revenus du Travail en France," Working Papers, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique 2000-62, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  23. Shulamit Kahn & Kevin Lang, 1988. "The Effects of Hours Constraints on Labor Supply Estimates," NBER Working Papers 2647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  25. Thomas Piketty, 1998. "L'impact des incitations financières au travail sur les comportements individuels : une estimation pour le cas français," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 132(1), pages 1-35.
  26. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive Versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073, August.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Cahuc, Pierre & Carcillo, Stéphane & Rinne, Ulf & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2013. "Youth Unemployment in Old Europe: The Polar Cases of France and Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 7490, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Bargain, Olivier & Doorley, Karina, 2013. "Putting Structure on the RD Design: Social Transfers and Youth Inactivity in France," IZA Discussion Papers 7508, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Olivier Bargain & Karina Doorley, 2009. "Caught in the Trap? The Disincentive Effect of Social Assistance," Working Papers, School Of Economics, University College Dublin 200906, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  4. Antoine Terracol, 2009. "Guaranteed minimum income and unemployment duration in France," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00607219, HAL.
  5. Blundell, Richard & Bozio, Antoine & Laroque, Guy, 2011. "Extensive and Intensive Margins of Labour Supply: Working Hours in the US, UK and France," IZA Discussion Papers 6051, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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