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“Making work pay” in a rationed labor market

  • Olivier Bargain
  • Marco Caliendo
  • Peter Haan


  • Kristian Orsini

We assess the labour supply effects of two 'making work pay' reforms in Germany. We provide evidence in favour of policies that distinguish between low effort and low productivity by targeting individuals with low wages rather than individuals with low earnings. In assessing the policies we account for demand-side constraints by using a double-hurdle model. We identify and decompose the potential bias of labour supply elasticities derived in standard unconstrained models. Although this bias is not significant when assessing policies which mainly target voluntarily unemployed workers (typically secondary earners), it is substantial for policies which affect groups with high shares of involuntary unemployment.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Population Economics.

Volume (Year): 23 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 323-351

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Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:23:y:2010:i:1:p:323-351
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  1. Viktor Steiner & Katharina Wrohlich, 2004. "Work Incentives and Labor Supply Effects of the 'Mini-Jobs Reform' in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 438, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Euwals, R.W. & van Soest, A.H.O., 1996. "Desired and Actual Labour Supply of Unmarried Men and Women in the Netherlands," Discussion Paper 1996-23, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  3. Bingley, Paul & Walker, Ian, 1997. "The Labour Supply, Unemployment and Participation of Lone Mothers in In-Work Transfer Programmes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(444), pages 1375-90, September.
  4. Bargain, Olivier & Orsini, Kristian, 2006. "In-work policies in Europe: Killing two birds with one stone?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 667-697, December.
  5. Peter Haan & Michal Myck, 2006. "Apply with Caution: Introducing UK-Style In-work Support in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 555, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  6. Hogan, Vincent, 2004. "The welfare cost of taxation in a labour market with unemployment and non-participation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 395-413, August.
  7. Blundell, Richard William & Ham, John & Meghir, Costas, 1987. "Unemployment and Female Labour Supply," CEPR Discussion Papers 149, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Kristian Orsini, 2007. "Is Belgium "Making Work Pay" ?," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 50(2), pages 193-220.
  9. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Julian McCrae & Costas Meghir, 2000. "The labour market impact of the working families’ tax credit," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 75-103, March.
  10. Blundell, Richard, 2000. "Work Incentives and 'In-Work' Benefit Reforms: A Review," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 27-44, Spring.
  11. Richard Blundell & Thomas MaCurdy, 1998. "Labour supply: a review of alternative approaches," IFS Working Papers W98/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  12. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-38, May.
  13. 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.
  14. Peter Haan, 2006. "Much ado about nothing: conditional logit vs. random coefficient models for estimating labour supply elasticities," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(4), pages 251-256.
  15. Creedy, John & Duncan, Alan, 2002. " Behavioural Microsimulation with Labour Supply Responses," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(1), pages 1-39, February.
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