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Eradicating child poverty in Britain: welfare reform and children since 1997

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  • Mike Brewer

    ()
    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and ISER, Essex University)

  • Paul Gregg

Abstract

Over the past 20 years the incidence of relative poverty among Britain's children has tripled. These changes are related to increased earnings inequality, growth in the number of single (lone) parent households, and an increased share of households with children with no working adult. The Labour Government has responded by adopting as a policy objective ending child poverty by 2020. Initial steps toward this end include increasing direct financial support to families with children, creating financial incentives for work for parents, adopting more intensive case management for the welfare caseload, and ameliorating the long-term consequences of the deprivation poverty brings. The Working Families' Tax Credit (WFTC) is the centerpiece of the financial support innovations but there is a broader swathe of welfare reforms which has received less attention. Overall, the U.K. system provides more generous support to the lowest-income families than is available in the U.S., and recent reforms have directly reduced child poverty. For most households, the reforms have reduced marginal benefit deduction rates and increased incentives to work. Preliminary evidence suggests the changes have had greatest effect on single parents. Continued progress requires the adoption of a more specific procedure for defining and measuring child poverty.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W01/08.

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Length: 48 pp
Date of creation: Apr 2001
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:01/08

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Keywords: Welfare; inequality; in-work benefits; child poverty;

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References

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  1. Gregg, Paul & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2000. "Mind the Gap, Please: The Changing Nature of Entry Jobs in Britain," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 67(268), pages 499-524, November.
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  3. Stephen P. Jenkins & Christian Schluter & Gert G. Wagner, 2001. "The Dynamics of Child Poverty: Britain and Germany Compared," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 233, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  4. David Piachaud & Holly Sutherland & UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, 2000. "How Effective is the British Government's Attempt to Reduce Child Poverty?," Innocenti Working Papers inwopa00/6, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.
  5. Richard Layard & Steven McIntosh & Anna Vignoles, 2002. "Britain's record on skills," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19517, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Nada Eissa & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1995. "Labor Supply Response to the Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Working Papers 5158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Mike Brewer, 2000. "Comparing in-work benefits and financial work incentives for low-income families in the US and the UK," IFS Working Papers W00/16, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  8. Hilary Hoynes & Richard Blundell, 2001. "Has "In-Work" Benefit Reform Helped the Labour Market?," NBER Working Papers 8546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Mike Brewer, 2001. "Comparing in-work benefits and the reward to work for families with children in the US and the UK," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 22(1), pages 41-77, January.
  10. Currie, Janet & Thomas, Duncan, 1995. "Does Head Start Make a Difference?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 341-64, June.
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  12. Gale, William G., 1997. "What Can America Learn from the British Tax System?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(4), pages 753-77, December .
  13. Eissa, Nada & Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 1999. "The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Labor Supply of Married Couples," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1024b9z8, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  14. Dickens, Richard & Ellwood, David T., 2001. "Whither Poverty in Great Britain and the United States? The Determinants of Changing Poverty and Whether Work Will Work," Working Paper Series rwp01-010, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  15. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Julian McCrae & Costas Meghir, 2000. "The labour market impact of the working families’ tax credit," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 75-103, March.
  16. David T. Ellwood & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2001. "The Middle-Class Parent Penalty: Child Benefits in the U.S. Tax Code," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 15, pages 1-40 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Patricia Tracy Jones & Stephen Nickell & Glenda Quintini, 2000. "A Picture of Job Insecurity Facing British Men," CEP Discussion Papers dp0479, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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  23. David G. Blanchflower & Richard B. Freeman, 2000. "Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number blan00-1, octubre-d.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Wolfgang Ochel, 2001. "Financial Incentives to Work - Conceptions and Results in Great Britain, Ireland and Canada," CESifo Working Paper Series 627, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Bennett, Roger, 2007. "Advertising message strategies for encouraging young White working class males to consider entering British universities," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 60(9), pages 932-941, September.
  3. Wolfgang Ochel, 2003. "Welfare to Work in the United Kingdom," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 1(2), pages 56-62, 02.
  4. Gregg, Paul & Waldfogel, Jane & Washbrook, Elizabeth, 2006. "Family expenditures post-welfare reform in the UK: Are low-income families starting to catch up?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 721-746, December.

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