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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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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12366.

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Date of creation: Jul 2006
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Publication status: published as Robert Moffitt, 2006. "Welfare work Requirements with Paternalistic Government Preferences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(515), pages F441-F458, November.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12366

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  1. 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.
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  7. Katherine Cuff, 1998. "Optimality of Workfare with Heterogeneous Preferences," Working Papers 968, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  8. 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.
  9. Diamond, Peter & Sheshinski, Eytan, 1995. "Economic aspects of optimal disability benefits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 1-23, May.
  10. 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.
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  12. Fortin, Bernard & Truchon, Michel & Beausejour, Louis, 1993. "On reforming the welfare system : Workfare meets the negative income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 119-151, June.
  13. Parsons, Donald O., 1996. "Imperfect 'tagging' in social insurance programs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 183-207, October.
  14. Philippe Chone & Guy Laroque, 2001. "Optimal Incentives for Labor Force Participation," Working Papers 2001-26, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  15. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Stefanie Behncke & Markus Frölich & Michael Lechner, 2009. "Targeting Labour Market Programmes - Results from a Randomized Experiment," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 145(III), pages 221-268, September.
  2. 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.
  3. Alexander M. Gelber, 2010. "Taxes and Time Allocation: Evidence from Single Women," 2010 Meeting Papers 1031, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Craig Brett & Laurence Jacquet, 2011. "Workforce or Workfare?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3463, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Aaberge, Rolf & Flood, Lennart, 2013. "U.S. versus Sweden: The Effect of Alternative In-Work Tax Credit Policies on Labour Supply of Single Mothers," Working Papers in Economics 576, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
  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. 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.
  9. 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.

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