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The Negative Income Tax and the Evolution of U.S. Welfare Policy

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  • Robert A. Moffitt

Abstract

The negative income tax proposed by Milton Friedman represents one of the fundamental ideas of modern welfare policy. However, the academic literature has raised two difficulties with it, one challenging its purported work incentives and the other suggesting the possible superiority of work requirements. In addition, work requirement approaches have gained ground in actual U.S. welfare policy over the last 30 years and the number of different programs has proliferated, another development counter to the negative income tax. On the other hand, the Earned Income Tax Credit has produced a negative-income-tax-like program on a vast scale.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9751.

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Date of creation: Jun 2003
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Publication status: published as Moffitt, Robert A. "The Negative Income Tax And The Evolution Of U.S. Welfare Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2003, v17(3,Summer), 119-140.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9751

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  1. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 291-364 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. Garfinkel, Irwin, 1973. "Is In-Kind Redistribution Efficient?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 320-30, May.
  17. V. Joseph Hotz & John Karl Scholz, 2001. "The Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Working Papers 8078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Effects of Child-Care Programs on Women's Work Effort," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S136-S163, Part II, .
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