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Workfare in an efficiency wage model

  • Volker Meier


The impacts of introducing work requirements for welfare recipients are studied in an efficiency wage model. If the workfare package is not mandatory, it will reduce employment, profits, and utility levels of employed and unemployed workers. In contrast, mandatory effort requirements will generally raise both employment and profits and reduce the tax rate. The impact on the net wage is ambiguous. Changes of utility levels of employed and unemployed workers have the same sign as the variation in the net wage. The possibility of a Pareto improvement may explain the widespread support for welfare to work experiments.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Empirica.

Volume (Year): 35 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 165-178

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Handle: RePEc:kap:empiri:v:35:y:2008:i:2:p:165-178
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  1. 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.
  2. Katherine Cuff, 1998. "Optimality of Workfare with Heterogeneous Preferences," Working Papers 968, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  3. Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Torben Tranas, 2005. "Optimal Workfare with Voluntary and Involuntary Unemployment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(3), pages 459-474, 09.
  4. Robert Moffitt, 1999. "Explaining Welfare Reform: Public Choice and the Labor Market," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 289-315, August.
  5. Peter Fredriksson & Bertil Holmlund, 2003. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance Design: Time Limits, Monitoring, or Workfare?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1019, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 2000. "Welfare to Work in the U.S.: A Model for Other Developed Nations?," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 95-114, February.
  7. Dye, Ronald A. & Antle, Rick, 1986. "Cost-minimizing welfare programs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 259-265, July.
  8. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," NBER Working Papers 8983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. David T. Ellwood, 2000. "Anti-Poverty Policy for Families in the Next Century: From Welfare to Work--and Worries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 187-198, Winter.
  10. Chambers, Robert G., 1989. "Workfare or welfare?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 79-97, October.
  11. 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.
  12. Robert Moffitt, 2001. "The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program," Economics Working Paper Archive 463, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  13. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  14. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1995. "The Design of Income Maintenance Programmes," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(2), pages 187-221, April.
  15. Coate, Stephen, 1995. "Altruism, the Samaritan's Dilemma, and Government Transfer Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 46-57, March.
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