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Unintended labour supply effects of cash transfer programmes: Evidence from South Africa's old age pension

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  • Abel, Martin

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    (Public Policy at Harvard University)

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    Abstract

    Employing South Africa's first nationally representative panel data set, I find that having old age pension recipients in the household adversely affects employment outcomes of prime-aged adults both by reducing the probability that the unemployed find work and by increasing the likelihood that the previously employed lose their job. These effects seems to operate through the income mechanism: an increase in pension resources increases the reservation wage and lowers labour force participation of prime-aged household members. By contrast I find evidence against the hypothesis that pensioners provide childcare which allows parents to work. Instead gaining a pensioner lowers the probability that mothers are employed. Adverse employment effects are found for salaried work and self-employment while the pension does not affect casual work. Impact estimates are larger in metropolitan areas which questions previous studies that find that pension resources finance labour migration. Results are robust to a series of novel robustness tests that exploit institutional features of the old age pension and disability grant.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town in its series SALDRU Working Papers with number 114.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:ldr:wpaper:114

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    Keywords: labour; cash transfers; South Africa; National Income Dynamics Study; NIDS;

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    1. Camerer, Colin & Babcock, Linda & Loewenstein, George & Thaler, Richard, 1996. "Labor Supply of New York City Cab Drivers: One Day At A time," Working Papers 960, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
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    7. Posel, Dorrit & Fairburn, James A. & Lund, Frances, 2006. "Labour migration and households: A reconsideration of the effects of the social pension on labour supply in South Africa," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 836-853, September.
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    12. Case, A. & Deaton, A., 1996. "Large Cash Transfers to the Elderly in South Africa," Papers 176, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
    13. John Maluccio & Natàlia Caldés & David Coady, 2005. "The Cost of Poverty Alleviation Transfer Programs: A Comparative Analysis of Three Programs in Latin America," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0527, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
    14. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
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    17. Ingrid Woolard & Murray Leibbrandt, 2010. "The Evolution and Impact of Unconditional Cash Transfers in South Africa," SALDRU Working Papers 51, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
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