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Distributional Impacts of the Self-Sufficiency Project

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  • Marianne P. Bitler
  • Jonah B. Gelbach
  • Hilary W. Hoynes

Abstract

A large literature has been concerned with the impacts of recent welfare reforms on income, earnings, transfers, and labor-force attachment. While one strand of this literature relies on observational studies conducted with large survey-sample data sets, a second makes use of data generated by experimental evaluations of changes to means-tested programs. Much of the overall literature has focused on mean impacts. In this paper, we use random-assignment experimental data from Canada's Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP) to look at impacts of this unique reform on the distributions of income, earnings, and transfers. SSP offered members of the treatment group a generous subsidy for working full time. Quantile treatment effect (QTE) estimates show there was considerable heterogeneity in the impacts of SSP on the distributions of earnings, transfers, and total income; heterogeneity that would be missed by looking only at average treatment effects. Moreover, these heterogeneous impacts are consistent with the predictions of labor supply theory. During the period when the subsidy is available, the SSP impact on the earnings distribution is zero for the bottom half of the distribution. The SSP earnings distribution is higher for much of the upper third of the distribution except at the very top, where the earnings distribution is the same under either program or possibly lower under SSP. Further, during the period when SSP receipt was possible, the impacts on the distributions of transfer payments (IA plus the subsidy) and total income (earnings plus transfers) are also different at different points of the distribution. In particular, positive impacts on the transfer distribution are concentrated at the lower end of the transfer distribution while positive impacts on the income distribution are concentrated in the upper end of the income distribution. Impacts of SSP on these distributions were essentially zero after the subsidy was no longer available.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11626.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Publication status: published as Bitler, Marianne P. & Gelbach, Jonah B. & Hoynes, Hilary W., 2008. "Distributional impacts of the Self-Sufficiency Project," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 748-765, April.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11626

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Djebbari, Habiba & Smith, Jeffrey, 2008. "Heterogeneous impacts in PROGRESA," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 145(1-2), pages 64-80, July.
  2. Sokbae 'Simon' Lee & Yoon-Jae Whang, 2009. "Nonparametric tests of conditional treatment effects," CeMMAP working papers CWP36/09, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  3. Carlos A. Flores & Alfonso Flores-Lagunes & Arturo Gonzalez & Todd C. Neumann, 2009. "Estimating the Effects of Lenght of Exposure to Traning Program: The Case of Job Corps," Working Papers 2010-3, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
  4. Martin Huber & Michael Lechner & Conny Wunsch & Thomas Walter, 2011. "Do German Welfare‐to‐Work Programmes Reduce Welfare Dependency and Increase Employment?," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 12(2), pages 182-204, 05.
  5. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2005. "Distributional Impacts of the Self-Sufficiency Project," NBER Working Papers 11626, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ozkan Eren & Daniel Millimet, 2007. "Time to learn? The organizational structure of schools and student achievement," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 301-332, May.
  7. Shimshack, Jay P. & Ward, Michael B. & Beatty, Timothy K.M., 2007. "Mercury advisories: Information, education, and fish consumption," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 158-179, March.
  8. Antecol, Heather & Eren, Ozkan & Ozbeklik, Serkan, 2013. "The effect of Teach for America on the distribution of student achievement in primary school: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 113-125.
  9. Ferraro, Paul J. & Miranda, Juan José, 2013. "Heterogeneous treatment effects and mechanisms in information-based environmental policies: Evidence from a large-scale field experiment," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 356-379.
  10. Gamper-Rabindran, Shanti & Khan, Shakeeb & Timmins, Christopher, 2010. "The impact of piped water provision on infant mortality in Brazil: A quantile panel data approach," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 188-200, July.
  11. Jackson, Erika & Page, Marianne E., 2013. "Estimating the distributional effects of education reforms: A look at Project STAR," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 92-103.
  12. Alfonso Flores-Lagunes & Arturo Gonzalez & Todd C. Neumann, 2007. "Estimating the Effects of Length of Exposure to a Training Program: The Case of Job Corps," Working Papers 1042, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  13. Antecol, Heather & Eren, Ozkan & Ozbeklik, Serkan, 2013. "The Effect of Teach for America on the Distribution of Student Achievement in Primary School: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 7296, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Kottelenberg, Michael J. & Lehrer, Steven F., 2014. "Do the Perils of Universal Child Care Depend on the Child's Age?," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2014-14, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 26 Mar 2014.
  15. Helke Waelde, 2011. "Demasking the impact of microfinance," Working Papers 1115, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, revised 09 Nov 2011.

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