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

Listed author(s):
  • 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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  3. 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.
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  5. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "The Negative Income Tax and the Evolution of U.S. Welfare Policy," NBER Working Papers 9751, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00353896 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1999. "Minimum Wages and Employment in France and the United States," NBER Working Papers 6996, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Hajivassiliou, Vassilis A. & Ruud, Paul A., 1986. "Classical estimation methods for LDV models using simulation," Handbook of Econometrics, in: R. F. Engle & D. McFadden (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 40, pages 2383-2441 Elsevier.
  10. 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 169-192, February.
  11. Shulamit Kahn & Kevin Lang, 1988. "The Effects of Hours Constraints on Labor Supply Estimates," NBER Working Papers 2647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. MARGOLIS, David N., 1995. "Cohort Effects and Returns to Seniority in France," Cahiers de recherche 9559, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Marc Gurgand & David Margolis, 2001. "RMI et revenus de travail : une évaluation des gains financier à l'emploi," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00353839, HAL.
  18. 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.
  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. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-161, January.
  21. 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).
  22. Moffitt, Robert A., 2002. "Welfare programs and labor supply," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 34, pages 2393-2430 Elsevier.
  23. Stewart, M.B. & Swaffield, J.K., 1996. "Constraints on the Desired Hours of Work of British Men," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 468, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  24. Joseph G. Altonji & Christina H. Paxson, 1990. "Labor Supply, Hours Constraints and Job Mobility," NBER Working Papers 3474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. 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.
  26. Marc Gurgand & David Margolis, 2000. "Minima Sociaux et Revenus du Travail en France," Working Papers 2000-62, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  27. 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.
  28. Joseph G. Altonji & Christina H. Paxson, 1987. "Labor Supply Preferences, Hours Constraints, and Hours-Wage Tradeoffs," NBER Working Papers 2121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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