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Caught in the trap? Welfare's disincentive and the labor supply of single men

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  • Bargain, Olivier
  • Doorley, Karina

Abstract

Youth unemployment is particularly large in many industrialized countries and has dramatic consequences in both the short and long-term. While there is abundant evidence about the labor supply of married women and single mothers, little is known about how young (childless) singles react to financial incentives. The French minimum income (Revenu Minimum d'Insertion, RMI), often accused of generating strong disincentives to work, offers a natural setting to study this question since childless single individuals, primarily males, constitute the core group of recipients. Exploiting the fact that childless adults under age 25 are not eligible for this program, we conduct a regression discontinuity analysis using French Census data. We find that the RMI reduces the participation of uneducated single men by 7-10% at age 25. We conduct an extensive robustness check and discuss the implications of our results for youth unemployment and current policy developments.

Suggested Citation

  • Bargain, Olivier & Doorley, Karina, 2011. "Caught in the trap? Welfare's disincentive and the labor supply of single men," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1096-1110, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:95:y:2011:i:9-10:p:1096-1110
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    Cited by:

    1. Olivier Bargain & Andreas Peichl, 2016. "Own-wage labor supply elasticities: variation across time and estimation methods," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-31, December.
    2. Doris, Aedin & O'Neill, Donal & Sweetman, Olive, 2017. "Does Reducing Unemployment Benefits During a Recession Reduce Youth Unemployment? Evidence from a 50% Cut in Unemployment Assistance," IZA Discussion Papers 10727, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Leibbrandt, Murray & Lilenstein, Kezia & Shenker, Callie & Woolard, Ingrid, 2013. "The influence of social transfers on labour supply: A South African and international review," SALDRU Working Papers 112, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    4. Minke Remmerswaal & Jan Boone & Michiel Bijlsma & Rudy Douven, 2017. "Cost-Sharing Design Matters: A Comparison of the Rebate and Deductible in Healthcare," CPB Discussion Paper 367, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    5. YUGAMI Kazufumi & MORIMOTO Atsushi & TANAKA Yoshiyuki, 2017. "Welfare Benefits and Labor Supply: Evidence from a natural experiment in Japan," Discussion papers 17109, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    6. BARGAIN Olivier & DOORLEY Karina, 2016. "The Effect of Social Benefits on Youth Employment: Combining RD and a Behavioral Model," LISER Working Paper Series 2016-12, LISER.
    7. Olivier Bargain & Mathias Dolls & Dirk Neumann & Andreas Peichl & Sebastian Siegloch, 2011. "Tax-Benefit Systems in Europe and the US: Between Equity and Efficiency," CESifo Working Paper Series 3534, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Bergolo, Marcelo & Cruces, Guillermo, 2016. "The Anatomy of Behavioral Responses to Social Assistance When Informal Employment Is High," IZA Discussion Papers 10197, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Remmerswaal, Minke & Boone, Jan & Bijlsma, Michiel & Douven, R.C.M.H., 2017. "Cost-Sharing Design Matters : A Comparison of the Rebate and Deductible in Healthcare," Discussion Paper 2017-049, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    10. Bargain, Olivier & Doorley, Karina, 2013. "Putting Structure on the RD Design: Social Transfers and Youth Inactivity in France," IZA Discussion Papers 7508, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Remmerswaal, Minke & Boone, Jan & Bijlsma, Michiel & Douven, R.C.M.H., 2017. "Cost-Sharing Design Matters : A Comparison of the Rebate and Deductible in Healthcare," Discussion Paper 2017-039, Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center.
    12. repec:spr:izalpo:v:6:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1186_s40173-017-0089-x is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Regression discontinuity Welfare Social assistance Labor supply;

    JEL classification:

    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

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