Helping the Working Poor: Employer- vs. Employee-Based Subsidies
AbstractIn the United States and Europe there has been renewed interest in subsidizing firms that employ disadvantaged workers as a means of addressing poverty and other social problems. In contrast, the prevailing practice is largely to provide social welfare benefits directly to individuals. Which approach is better? We re-examine the relative merits of employee- versus employer-based labor market subsidies and conclude there are good reasons to continue to rely on the direct, employee-based approach. In practice, low-wage workers are seldom either low-skill or low-income workers. Furthermore, workers who might quality for a firm-based subsidy are reluctant to so identify themselves for fear of being stigmatized or labeled as "needy." Thus, employer-based subsidy programs have lower participation rates and correspondingly higher per capita expenditures than employee-based subsidy programs.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University in its series Center for Policy Research Policy Briefs with number 14.
Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Aug 1999
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
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