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Reducing Poverty while Increasing Employment: A Primer on Alternative Strategies, and a Blueprint


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  • Robert Haveman


Policy to reduce poverty has often foundered on the issue of work incentives. The issue is a manifestation of the traditional conflict between equity and efficiency; the redistribution of income from higher to lower income people typically leads to reduced incentives for both groups to supply labor to the market, or to exercise initiative. This conflict is also known as the "poverty trap"--with income transfer (welfare) programs in place, those with low earned income have a reduced incentive to seek and accept employment, and as a result appear trapped in poverty. This paper discusses the primary policy strategies for reducing poverty while maintaining work incentives that have been analyzed in the literature. These strategies have been presented in a context in which a structure of income support policies and labor market constraints already exists. Existing policies typically have two characteristics: they are categorical and piecemeal in their coverage, and they contain serious ... Réduire la pauvreté et accroître l'emploi : Considérations de base et projets sur les stratégies alternatives Les politiques visant à reduire la pauvreté ont souvent échouées à cause du besoin de ne pas diminuer les incitations à travailler. Il s’agit d’une illustration de la tension classique entre l’équité et l’efficience car la redistribution des revenus à partir des plus aisés en faveur de ceux plus modestes réduit les incitations aux deux groupes d’offrir leur main d’oeuvre ou de prendre des initiatives. Cette situation est souvent identifiée par le terme de "piège de la pauvreté" car la mise en place de mesures de transfert des revenues réduit les incitations à ceux dont les gains salariaux sont peu importants de rechercher un emploi et d’y rester avec la conséquence qu’ils paraissent figés dans la misère. L’étude considère les differentes strategies de base mise en avant dans la litterature visant à reduire la pauvreté tout en préservant les incitations au travail. Ces strategies sont présentées dans le cadre d’un système de soutien des revenues accompané des contraintes du marché ...

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Jobs Study Working Papers with number 7.

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Date of creation: 1995
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Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaac:7-en

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Cited by:
  1. Bovenberg, A Lans & de Mooij, Ruud A & Graafland, Johan J, 1998. "Tax Reform and the Dutch Labour Market: An Applied General Equilibrium Approach," CEPR Discussion Papers 1983, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Jan Boone & Ruud de Mooij, 2000. "Tax policy in a model of search with training," CPB Research Memorandum 161, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  3. Bijie Ren, 2008. "The regional effects of marginal wage subsidies," Psychometrika, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 598-626, December.
  4. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 2000. "Errata," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 369-371, May.
  5. Floro Ernesto Caroleo, 2000. "Le Politiche per l'Occupazione in Europa: una Tassonomia Istituzionale," CELPE Discussion Papers 52, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.
  6. Primoz Dolenc & Milan Vodopivec, 2005. "Does work pay in Slovenia?," Financial Theory and Practice, Institute of Public Finance, vol. 29(4), pages 341-362.
  7. Sijbren Cnossen, 2002. "Tax Policy in the European Union: A Review of Issues and Options," CESifo Working Paper Series 758, CESifo Group Munich.


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