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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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  • Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "The Negative Income Tax and the Evolution of U.S. Welfare Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 119-140, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:17:y:2003:i:3:p:119-140
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/089533003769204380
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    1. Marc Gurgand & David Margolis, 2005. "Does work pay in France ? Monetary incentives and the guaranteed minimum income," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00193282, HAL.
    2. Gurgand, Marc & Margolis, David N., 2008. "Does work pay in France? Monetary incentives, hours constraints, and the guaranteed minimum income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1669-1697, July.
    3. Heckman, James J. & Moon, Seong Hyeok & Pinto, Rodrigo & Savelyev, Peter A. & Yavitz, Adam, 2010. "The rate of return to the HighScope Perry Preschool Program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 114-128, February.
    4. Jörg Lingens & Klaus Wälde, 2009. "Pareto-Improving Unemployment Policies," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 65(2), pages 220-245, June.
    5. Mery Ferrando & Cristian Pérez Muñoz & Gonzalo Salas, 2013. "Impuestos negativos a la renta en Uruguay: ¿una política redistributiva alternativa?," REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE, January.
    6. Allan H. Meltzer, 2003. "Choosing freely: the Friedmans' influence on economic and social policy," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Oct, pages 191-205.
    7. Ramses H. Abul Naga & Christophe Kolodziejczyk & Tobias Müller, 2008. "The Redistributive Impact Of Alternative Income Maintenance Schemes: A Microsimulation Study Using Swiss Data," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 54(2), pages 193-219, June.
    8. Melissa S. Kearney & Phillip B. Levine, 2012. "Why Is the Teen Birth Rate in the United States So High and Why Does It Matter?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 141-163, Spring.
    9. Nizamul Islam & Ugo Colombino, 2017. "The case for NIT+FT in Europe. An empirical optimal taxation exercise," CHILD Working Papers Series 54 JEL Classification: H2, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA.
    10. Habermacher, Florian & Kirchgässner, Gebhard, 2013. "Das garantierte Grundeinkommen: Eine (leider) nicht bezahlbare Idee," Economics Working Paper Series 1313, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science, revised Aug 2013.
    11. Islam, Nizamul & Colombino, Ugo, 2017. "The Case for NIT+FT in Europe: An Empirical Optimal Taxation Exercise," IZA Discussion Papers 11147, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Robert Moffitt, 2006. "Welfare work Requirements with Paternalistic Government Preferences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(515), pages 441-458, November.
    13. Løken, Katrine V. & Lommerud, Kjell Erik & Reiso, Katrine Holm, 2014. "Single Mothers and their children: Evaluating a work-encouraging welfare reform," Working Papers in Economics 04/14, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
    14. Francesconi, Marco & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2004. "The consequences of 'in-work' benefit reform in Britain: new evidence from panel data," ISER Working Paper Series 2004-13, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    15. Margit Schratzenstaller, 2003. "Tax Reform 2005," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 76(12), pages 879-900, December.
    16. Alari Paulus, 2016. "The antipoverty performance of universal and means-tested benefits with costly take-up," ImPRovE Working Papers 16/12, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    17. Michaud, P.C. & Vermeulen, F.M.P., 2004. "A Collective Retirement Model : Identification and Estimation in the Presence of Externalities," Discussion Paper 2004-75, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    18. Isilda Mara & Edlira Narazani, 2011. "Labour-incentive reforms at preretirement age in Austria," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 38(4), pages 481-510, November.
    19. Brigitte Baalen & Tobias Müller, 2014. "Social welfare effects of tax-benefit reform under endogenous participation and unemployment: an ordinal approach," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 21(2), pages 198-227, April.
    20. Melissa Schettini Kearney & Phillip B. Levine, 2011. "Income Inequality and Early Non-Marital Childbearing: An Economic Exploration of the "Culture of Despair"," NBER Working Papers 17157, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. David Neumark, 2016. "Policy levers to increase jobs and increase income from work after the Great Recession," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-38, December.
    22. Luke Haywood, 2014. "Bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen: eine ökonomische Perspektive," DIW Roundup: Politik im Fokus 33, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    23. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2009. "Critical Analysis of Some Well-Intended Proposals to Fight Unemployment," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2009 2009-17, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
    24. Marcelo Arbex & Enlinson Mattos, 2010. "Poverty and the Optimal General Income Tax-cum-Audit Policy," Working Papers 02-2010, Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Economia, Administração e Contabilidade de Ribeirão Preto.

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    JEL classification:

    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private

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