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Welfare Work Requirements with Paternalistic Government Preferences

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  • Robert Moffitt

Abstract

Work requirements in means-tested transfer programs have grown in importance in the U.S. and in some other countries. The theoretical literature which considers their possible optimality generally operates within a traditional welfarist framework where some function of the utility of the poor is maximized. Here we consider a case where society is paternalistic and instead has preferences over the actual work allocations of welfare recipients. With this social welfare function, optimality of work requirements is possible but depends on the accuracy of the screening mechanism which assigns work requirements to some benefit recipients and not others. Numerical simulations show that the accuracy must be high for such optimality to occur. The simulations also show that earnings subsidies can be justified with the type of social welfare function used here.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics in its series Economics Working Paper Archive with number 534.

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Date of creation: Jun 2005
Date of revision: Jun 2006
Handle: RePEc:jhu:papers:534

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  1. Brett, Craig, 1998. "Who Should Be on Workfare? The Use of Work Requirements as Part of an Optimal Tax Mix," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 607-22, October.
  2. Guy Laroque, 2005. "Income Maintenance and Labor Force Participation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 341-376, 03.
  3. Paul Beaudry & Charles Blackorby & Dezs� Szalay, 2009. "Taxes and Employment Subsidies in Optimal Redistribution Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 216-42, March.
  4. Diamond, Peter & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1995. "Economic aspects of optimal disability benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 1-23, May.
  5. Salanie, Bernard, 2002. "Optimal demogrants with imperfect tagging," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 319-324, May.
  6. Maderner, Nina & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1995. " Is It Legitimate to Encourage Work Sharing?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 621-33, December.
  7. Keane, Michael & Moffitt, Robert, 1998. "A Structural Model of Multiple Welfare Program Participation and Labor Supply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(3), pages 553-89, August.
  8. Philippe Chone & Guy Laroque, 2001. "Optimal Incentives for Labor Force Participation," Working Papers 2001-26, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  9. Katherine Cuff, 1998. "Optimality of Workfare with Heterogeneous Preferences," Working Papers 968, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  10. Fortin, B. & Truchon, M., 1990. "On Reforming the Welfare System: Workfare Meets the Negative Income Tax," Cahiers de recherche 9016, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
  11. Parsons, Donald O., 1996. "Imperfect 'tagging' in social insurance programs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 183-207, October.
  12. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1995. "The Design of Income Maintenance Programmes," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 187-221, April.
  13. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive Versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073, August.
  14. Louis Kaplow, 2006. "Optimal Income Transfers," NBER Working Papers 12284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number moff03-1, octubre-d.
  16. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "The Negative Income Tax and the Evolution of U.S. Welfare Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 119-140, Summer.
  17. Hanming Fang & Michael P. Keane, 2004. "Assessing the Impact of Welfare Reform on Single Mothers," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 35(1), pages 1-116.
  18. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1992. "Workfare versus Welfare Incentive Arguments for Work Requirements in Poverty-Alleviation Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 249-61, March.
  19. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Brett, Craig & Jacquet, Laurence, 2011. "Workforce or Workfare?," Discussion Paper Series in Economics 8/2011, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics.
  2. John Hatfield & Fuhito Kojima & Yusuke Narita, 2012. "Promoting School Competition Through School Choice: A Market Design Approach," Discussion Papers 12-019, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  3. Aaberge, Rolf & Flood, Lennart, 2013. "U.S. versus Sweden: The Effect of Alternative In-Work Tax Credit Policies on Labour Supply of Single Mothers," IZA Discussion Papers 7706, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Tomer Blumkin & Yoram Margalioth & Efraim Sadka, 2013. "The desirability of workfare in the presence of misreporting," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 71-88, February.
  5. Stefanie Behncke & Markus Frölich & Michael Lechner, 2007. "Targeting Labour Market Programmes - Results from a Randomized Experiment," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2007 2007-37, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  6. Gelber, Alexander M. & Mitchell, Joshua W., 2009. "Taxes and Time Allocation: Evidence from Single Women," MPRA Paper 19148, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Ruggero Paladini, 2014. "Da Bentham alla tassazione ottimale," Public Finance Research Papers 2, Istituto di Economia e Finanza, DIGEF, Sapienza University of Rome.
  8. Jesse Rothstein, 2009. "Is the EITC Equivalent to an NIT? Conditional Cash Transfers and Tax Incidence," NBER Working Papers 14966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Mojsoska-Blazevski, Nikica & Petreski, Marjan & Petreska, Despina, 2013. "Increasing labour market activity of poor and female: Let’s make work pay in Macedonia," MPRA Paper 57228, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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