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The Consequences of ‘In-Work’ Benefit Reform in Britain: New Evidence from Panel Data

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Author Info

  • Francesconi, Marco

    ()
    (University of Essex)

  • van der Klaauw, Wilbert

    ()
    (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

Abstract

In October 1999, the British government enacted the Working Families’ Tax Credit, a generous tax credit aimed at encouraging work among low-income families with children. This paper uses longitudinal data collected between 1991 and 2001 to evaluate the effect of this reform on single mothers. We identify this impact by comparing changes in behavior of lone mothers to changes for single women without children. Our results show that the financial incentives of the reform had powerful effects on a wide range of lone mothers’ decisions. The reform led to a substantial increase in employment rates of about 7 percentage points, which was driven by both higher rates at which lone mothers remained in the labor force and higher rates at which they entered it. Women’s responses were highly heterogeneous, with larger effects for mothers with one pre-school aged child, and virtually no effect for mothers with multiple older children. The reform also led to significant reductions in single mothers’ subsequent fertility and in the rate at which they married. Our findings suggest that the generous childcare tax credit component of the reform played a key role in explaining the estimated employment responses. Finally, we find relatively large behavioral effects in anticipation of the actual reform, which emphasizes the importance of allowing for such effects in future evaluation research.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1248.

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Length: 74 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Human Resources, 2007, 42 (1), 1-31
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1248

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Related research

Keywords: anticipation effects; difference-in-difference and panel-data estimators; lone mothers; welfare-to-work program evaluation;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2005. "Low-fee ($5/day/child) Regulated Childcare Policy and the Labor Supply of Mothers with Young Children: A Natural Experiment from Canada / La politique des services de garde à 5 $/jour et l’offre de," CIRANO Working Papers 2005s-08, CIRANO.
  2. Lefebvre, Pierre & Merrigan, Philip & Verstraete, Matthieu, 2009. "Dynamic labour supply effects of childcare subsidies: Evidence from a Canadian natural experiment on low-fee universal child care," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 490-502, October.
  3. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan & Francis Roy-Desrosiers, 2011. "Québec's Childcare Universal Low Fees Policy 10 Years After: Effects, Costs and Benefits," Cahiers de recherche 1101, CIRPEE.
  4. Cordula Zabel, 2008. "Patterns of partnership formation among lone mothers in Russia," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2008-020, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  5. Ghazala Azmat, 2006. "The impact of tax credits on labour supply," Economics Working Papers 979, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2009.
  6. Pronzato, Chiara Daniela, 2014. "Fighting Lone Mothers’ Poverty through In-Work Benefits Methodological Issues and Policy Suggestions," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201420, University of Turin.
  7. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2005. "The Québec’s Experiment of $5 per Day per Child Childcare Policy and Mother’s Labour Supply: Evidence Based on the Five Cycles of the NLSCY," CIRANO Project Reports 2005rp-21, CIRANO.
  8. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan & Matthieu Verstraete, 2008. "Childcare Policy and Cognitive Outcomes of Children: Results from a Large Scale Quasi-Experiment on Universal Childcare in Canada," Cahiers de recherche 0823, CIRPEE.
  9. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan & Matthieu Verstraete, 2006. "Impact of Early Childhood Care and Education on Children's Preschool Cognitive Development: Canadian Results from a Large Quasi-experiment," Cahiers de recherche 0636, CIRPEE.
  10. Konle-Seidl, Regina, 2005. "Lessons learned: Internationale Evaluierungsergebnisse zu Wirkungen aktiver und aktivierender Arbeitsmarktpolitik," IAB-Forschungsbericht 200509, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].

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