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Effects of Government Policies on Income Distribution and Welfare

  • Wu, Ximing
  • Perloff, Jeffrey M.
  • Golan, Amos

A variety of parametric and semiparametric models produce qualitatively similar estimates of government policies’ effects on income distribution and welfare (as measured by the Gini, standard deviation of logarithms, relative mean deviation, coefficient of variation, and various Atkinson indexes). Taxes and the Earned Income Tax Credit are an effective way to redistribute income to the poor and raise welfare. The minimum wage lowers welfare. Social insurance programs have little effect except for Supplemental Security Income, which raises welfare. Transfer programs (AFDC/TANF and food stamps) either have no statistically significant effect or lower welfare.

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Paper provided by Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley in its series Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series with number qt74r4h1fc.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cdl:agrebk:qt74r4h1fc
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  1. David Neumark & Mark Schweitzer & William Wascher, 2004. "The effects of minimum wages on the distribution of family incomes: a nonparametric analysis," Working Paper 0412, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  2. Richard V. Burkhauser & Kenneth A. Couch & David C. Wittenburg, 1996. "Who gets what from minimum wage hikes: A re-estimation of Card and Krueger's distributional analysis in "Myth and Measurement: The New Economics of the Minimum Wage."," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(3), pages 547-552, April.
  3. Meyer, Bruce D. & Rosenbaum, Dan T., 2000. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1027-62, December.
  4. Freeman, Richard B, 1996. "The Minimum Wage as a Redistributive Tool," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(436), pages 639-49, May.
  5. Neumark, D. & Schweitzer, M. & Wascher, W., 1999. "The Effect of Minimum Wages Throughout the Wage Distribution," Papers 9919, London School of Economics - Centre for Labour Economics.
  6. Eissa, Nada & Liebman, Jeffrey B, 1996. "Labor Supply Response to the Earned Income Tax Credit," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 605-37, May.
  7. Golan, Amos & Judge, George & Perloff, Jeffrey M, 1996. "Estimating the Size Distribution of Firms Using Government Summary Statistics," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 69-80, March.
  8. Janice F. Madden, 2000. "Changes in Income Inequality within U.S. Metropolitan Areas," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number cii.
  9. Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2000. "Who Are the Ineligible EITC Recipients?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1165-86, December.
  10. Cowell, Frank A & Victoria-Feser, Maria-Pia, 1996. "Robustness Properties of Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(1), pages 77-101, January.
  11. Eissa, Nada & Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 1999. "The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Labor Supply of Married Couples," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1024b9z8, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  12. Leonesio, Michael V, 1988. "In-Kind Transfers and Work Incentives," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(4), pages 515-29, October.
  13. Thurow, Lester C, 1970. "Analyzing the American Income Distribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(2), pages 261-69, May.
  14. T. Paul Schultz, 1969. "Secular Trends and Cyclical Behavior of Income Distribution in the United States: 1944–1965," NBER Chapters, in: Six Papers on the Size Distribution of Wealth and Income, pages 75-106 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Golan, Amos & Judge, George G. & Miller, Douglas, 1996. "Maximum Entropy Econometrics," Staff General Research Papers 1488, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  16. Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2000. "Who are the Ineligible EITC Recipients?," JCPR Working Papers 131, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  17. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1999. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," JCPR Working Papers 152, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  18. Lee Soltow, 1969. "Six Papers on the Size Distribution of Wealth and Income," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number solt69-1, July.
  19. Jeffrey T. LaFrance, 1999. "Inferring the Nutrient Content of Food With Prior Information," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(3), pages 728-734.
  20. Simon Kuznets & Elizabeth Jenks, 1953. "Shares of Upper Income Groups in Income and Savings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn53-1, July.
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