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Targeting social assistance

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  • Bruce Bradbury

Abstract

This paper reviews the normative welfare economic literature on income-based targeting and contrasts its assumptions with those underlying current policy discourse. One current policy debate concerns the potential role for Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) income tests. In general, economic models within the standard (for economists) ‘welfarist’ approach provide little support for such policies. However, much policy discourse is explicitly non-welfarist, placing a negative social value on the leisure or home production of the poor. From this perspective, EITC or workfare-type programmes may be socially optimal. The normative foundations of this policy discourse, however, have yet to be subject to the rigorous analysis that underlies the welfarist approach.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce Bradbury, 2004. "Targeting social assistance," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 25(3), pages 305-324, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:fistud:v:25:y:2004:i:3:p:305-324
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ravi Kanbur & Jukka Pirttilä & Matti Tuomala, 2006. "Non-Welfarist Optimal Taxation And Behavioural Public Economics," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(5), pages 849-868, December.
    2. John Creedy, 2009. "The Personal Income Tax Structure: Theory and Policy," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1063, The University of Melbourne.
    3. Bruckmeier, Kerstin & Schnitzlein, Daniel, 2007. "Was wurde aus den Arbeitslosenhilfeempfängern? : eine empirische Analyse des Übergangs und Verbleibs von Arbeitslosenhilfeempfängern nach der Hartz-IV-Reform," IAB Discussion Paper 200724, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    4. John Creedy & Nicolas Hérault, 2009. "Optimal Marginal Income Tax Reforms: A Microsimulation Analysis," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2009n23, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    5. Pirttila, Jukka & Tuomala, Matti, 2004. "Poverty alleviation and tax policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(5), pages 1075-1090, October.
    6. Lohse, Tim, 2005. "Hartz IV The German Word of the Year 2004 and the Country s Hope to overcome its Problem of Unemployment," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-311, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

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