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Does work pay in France? Monetary incentives, hours constraints, and the guaranteed minimum income

  • Gurgand, Marc
  • Margolis, David N.

This paper uses a representative sample of individuals on France's main welfare program (the Revenu Minimum d'Insertion, or RMI) to estimate monetary incentives for employment among welfare recipients. Based on the estimated joint distribution of wages and hours potentially offered to each individual, we compute potential gains from working in a very detailed manner. Relating these gains to observed employment, we then estimate a simple structural labor supply model. We find that potential gains are almost always positive but very small on average, especially for single mothers, because of the high implicit marginal tax rates embedded in the system. Employment rates are sensitive to incentives with extensive margin elasticities for both men and women usually below one. Conditional on these elasticities, simulations indicate that existing policies devoted to reducing marginal tax rates at the bottom of the income distribution, such as the intéressement earnings top-up program, have little impact in this population due to their very limited scope. The negative income tax (Prime pour l'emploi), seems to be an exception.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 92 (2008)
Issue (Month): 7 (July)
Pages: 1669-1697

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:92:y:2008:i:7:p:1669-1697
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  2. Altonji, Joseph G & Paxson, Christina H, 1988. "Labor Supply Preferences, Hours Constraints, and Hours-Wage Trade-Offs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(2), pages 254-76, April.
  3. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  4. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1998. "Welfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers," JCPR Working Papers 32, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  5. Nada Eissa & Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner, 2004. "Evaluation of Four Tax Reforms in the United States: Labor Supply and Welfare Effects for Single Mothers," NBER Working Papers 10935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Juan Dolado & Francis Kramarz & Steven Machin & Alan Manning & David Margolis & Coen Teulings, 1996. "The Economic Impact of Minimum Wages in Europe," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00353896, HAL.
  7. Robert Moffitt, 2002. "Welfare Programs and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 9168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & Thomas Lemieux & David Margolis, 2000. "Minimum Wages and Youth Employment in France and the United States," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00354400, HAL.
  10. Guy Laroque & Bernard Salanie, 2002. "Labour market institutions and employment in France," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(1), pages 25-48.
  11. Gurgand, M. & Margolis, D., 2001. "RMI et revenus du travail : une evaluation des gains financiers a l'emploi," Dossiers de recherche- 09, Centre d'etudes de l'emploi.
  12. Joseph G. Altonji & Christina H. Paxson, 1990. "Labor Supply, Hours Constraints and Job Mobility," NBER Working Papers 3474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Shulamit Kahn & Kevin Lang, 1996. "Hours Constraints and the Wage/Hours Locus," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(s1), pages 71-75, April.
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  15. David Margolis, 1996. "Cohort Effects and Returns to Seniority in France," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00353897, HAL.
  16. Francis Kramarz & Thomas Philippon, 2000. "The Impact of Differenctial Payroll Tax Subsidies on Minimum Wage Employment," Working Papers 2000-10, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  17. Abowd, John M. & Kramarz, Francis & Margolis, David N. & Philippon, Thomas, 2000. "The Tail of Two Countries: Minimum Wages and Employment in France and the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 203, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073.
  19. Guy Laroque & Bernard Salanié, 1999. "Prélèvements et transferts sociaux : une analyse descriptive des incitations financières au travail," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 328(1), pages 3-19.
  20. Dickens, William T & Lundberg, Shelly J, 1993. "Hours Restrictions and Labor Supply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(1), pages 169-92, February.
  21. Cyrille Hagneré & Nathalie Picard & Alain Trannoy & Karine Van Der Straeten, 2003. "L'importance des incitations financières dans l'obtention d'un emploi est-elle surestimée ?," Working Papers hal-00242960, HAL.
  22. Stewart, Mark B & Swaffield, Joanna K, 1997. "Constraints on the Desired Hours of Work of British Men," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(441), pages 520-35, March.
  23. Marc Gurgand & David Margolis, 2000. "Minima Sociaux et Revenus du Travail en France," Working Papers 2000-62, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  24. Denis Fougère & Laurence Rioux, 2001. "Le RMI treize ans après : entre redistribution et incitations," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 346(1), pages 3-12.
  25. 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.
  26. Thomas Piketty, 1998. "L'impact des incitations financières au travail sur les comportements individuels : une estimation pour le cas français," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 132(1), pages 1-35.
  27. Arthur van Soest, 1995. "Structural Models of Family Labor Supply: A Discrete Choice Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 63-88.
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