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Do Financial Incentives Encourage Welfare Recipients to Work? Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation of the Self-Sufficiency Project

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  • David Card
  • Philip K. Robins

Abstract

This paper reports on a randomized evaluation of an earnings subsidy offered to long-term welfare recipients in Canada. The program -- known as the Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP) -- provides a supplement equal to one-half of the difference between a target earnings level and a participant's actual earnings. The SSP supplement is similar to a negative income tax with two important differences: (1) eligibility is limited to long-term welfare recipients who find a full-time job; and (2) the payment depends on individual earnings rather than family income. Our evaluation is based on a classical randomized design: one half of a group of single parents who had been on welfare for over a year were eligible to receive the SSP supplement, while the other half were assigned to a control group. Results for an early cohort of SSP participants and controls suggest that the financial incentives of the Self-Sufficiency Program increase labor market attachment and reduce welfare participation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5701.

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Date of creation: Aug 1996
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Publication status: published as Card, David and Philip K. Robins. "How Important Are 'Entry Effects' In Financial Incentive Programs For Welfare Recipients? Experimental Evidence From The Self-Sufficiency Project," Journal of Econometrics, 2005, v125(1-2,Mar-Apr), 113-139.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5701

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  1. Lemieux, Thomas & Fortin, Bernard & Frechette, Pierre, 1994. "The Effect of Taxes on Labor Supply in the Underground Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 231-54, March.
  2. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-35, December.
  3. Philip K. Robins, 1985. "A Comparison of the Labor Supply Findings from the Four Negative Income Tax Experiments," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(4), pages 567-582.
  4. Rebecca M. Blank & Maria J. Hanratty, 1993. "Responding to Need: A Comparison of Social Safety Nets in Canada and the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States, pages 191-232 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Saul D. Hoffman & Laurence S. Seidman, 1990. "The Earned Income Tax Credit," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number eitc, December.
  6. Kesselman, J.R. & Riddell, W.C., 1991. "Assessment of Alternative Subsidy Treatments for the EIC Self-Sufficiency Project," Papers r-95-5, Gouvernement du Canada - Human Resources Development.
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Cited by:
  1. Stepan Jurajda & Daniel M√ľnich, 2002. "Understanding Czech Long-Term Unemployment," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 498, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  2. Haan, Peter & Prowse, Victoria L. & Uhlendorff, Arne, 2008. "Employment Effects of Welfare Reforms: Evidence from a Dynamic Structural Life-Cycle Model," IZA Discussion Papers 3480, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M. & Imbens, Guido, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Scholarly Articles 3043416, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Primoz Dolenc & Milan Vodopivec, 2005. "Does work pay in Slovenia?," Financial Theory and Practice, Institute of Public Finance, vol. 29(4), pages 341-362.
  5. Philip K Robins & Charles Michalopoulos & Elsie Pan, 2001. "Financial incentives and welfare reform in the United States," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(1), pages 129-150.
  6. 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.
  7. Philip K. Robins & Charles Michalopoulos, 2001. "Using financial incentives to encourage welfare recipients to become economically self-sufficient," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sep, pages 105-123.

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