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Redistributing Smarter: Self-Selection, Targeting and Non-Conventional Policy Instruments

  • Robin Boadway

Modern public economic theory emphasizes imperfect information as the ultimate constraint on redistribution policy: the needy are hard to identify. To target transfers efficiently, the standard tax-transfer system with its reliance on self-reporting needs to be supplemented by other devices designed to separate the needy from the non-needy. These include the use of in-kind transfers, quantity and price controls, and monitoring by welfare administrators. The role of such devices as part of the mix of redistribution policies and their potential implications for rationalizing the Canadian transfer system are summarized.

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Article provided by University of Toronto Press in its journal Canadian Public Policy.

Volume (Year): 24 (1998)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 365-369

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Handle: RePEc:cpp:issued:v:24:y:1998:i:3:p:365-369
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  1. Katherine Cuff, 1998. "Optimality of Workfare with Heterogeneous Preferences," Working Papers 968, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  2. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1988. "Cash versus Kind, Self-selection, and Efficient Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 691-700, September.
  3. Nichols, Albert L & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1982. "Targeting Transfers through Restrictions on Recipients," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(2), pages 372-77, May.
  4. Robin Boadway & Katherine Cuff, 1999. "A Minimum Wage Can Be Welfare-Improving and Employment-Enhancing," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 72, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  5. Marceau, Nicolas & Boadway, Robin, 1994. " Minimum Wage Legislation and Unemployment Insurance as Instruments for Redistribution," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(1), pages 67-81.
  6. Arnott,Richard & Atkinson,Anthony B. & Arrow,Kenneth & Drèze,Jacques H. (ed.), 1997. "Public Economics Real Author-Name:Vickrey,William," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521597630.
  7. Boadway, Robin & Marchand, Maurice & Sato, Motohiro, 1998. " Subsidies versus Public Provision of Private Goods as Instruments for Redistribution," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 100(3), pages 545-64, September.
  8. Guesnerie, Roger & Roberts, Kevin, 1987. "Minimum wage legislation as a second best policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1-2), pages 490-498.
  9. Robin Boadway, 1997. "Public Economics and the Theory of Public Policy," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(4), pages 753-72, November.
  10. 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.
  11. Keen, Michael, 1997. "Peculiar Institutions: A British Perspective on Tax Policy in the United States," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(4), pages 779-802, December.
  12. Chander, Parkash & Wilde, Louis L, 1998. "A General Characterization of Optimal Income Tax Enforcement," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 165-83, January.
  13. 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.
  14. Blomquist, Suren & Christiansen, Vidar, 1995. " Public Provision of Private Goods as a Redistributive Device in an Optimum Income Tax Model," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 97(4), pages 547-67, December.
  15. Parsons, Donald O., 1996. "Imperfect 'tagging' in social insurance programs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 183-207, October.
  16. Munro, Alistair, 1992. "Self-Selection and Optimal In-Sind Transfers," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(414), pages 1184-96, September.
  17. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
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