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Fighting Poverty: Assessing the Effect of a Guaranteed Minimum Income Proposal in Québec

  • Nicholas-James Clavet
  • Jean-Yves Duclos
  • Guy Lacroix

This paper analyzes the impact of a recent recommendation made by Quebec's Comité consultatif de lutte contre la pauvreté et l'exclusion sociale to guarantee every individual an income equal to 80% of Statistics Canada's Market Basket Measure (MBM). Workers with earnings at least equivalent to 16 weekly hours at the minimum wage would be entitled to 100% of the MBM. We also investigate the impact of three alternative proposals: 1) a change in the above the hours cut-off from 16 to 30 hours; 2) a guaranteed income equal to 100% of the MBM, irrespective of earnings; 3) a 3$/hour conditional wage subsidy. To do this, we first estimate a structural labor supply model using the existing tax code and predict the labor supply of a representative sample of individuals based upon the parameter estimates of the model. Simulations show that the original recommendation would have strong negative impacts on participation rates of low-earners and that its cost would exceed $ 2 billion. Increasing the hours cut-off is predicted to have little impact beyond those of the original recommendation. Providing a guaranteed income equivalent to 100% of the MBM, on the other hand, would have a large impact. We find that contrary to what is usually assumed, guaranteed income schemes may increase the incidence of low-income rather than decrease it.

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Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2012s-36.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 01 Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2012s-36
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  1. Brouillette, Dany & Lacroix, Guy, 2010. "Heterogeneous treatment and self-selection in a wage subsidy experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(7-8), pages 479-492, August.
  2. Hidehiko Ichimura & Christopher R. Taber, 2000. "Direct Estimation of Policy Impacts," NBER Technical Working Papers 0254, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Keane, Michael & Moffitt, Robert, 1998. "A Structural Model of Multiple Welfare Program Participation and Labor Supply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(3), pages 553-89, August.
  4. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2006. "Ex Ante Evaluation of Social Programs," PIER Working Paper Archive 06-022, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  5. Lacroix, Guy, 2009. "Assessing the Impact of a Wage Subsidy for Single Parents on Social Assistance," CLSSRN working papers clsrn_admin-2009-35, Vancouver School of Economics, revised 22 Jun 2009.
  6. Gong, Xiaodong & van Soest, Arthur, 2000. "Family Structure and Female Labour Supply in Mexico City," IZA Discussion Papers 214, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Michael Keane, 2010. "Labor Supply and Taxes: A Survey," Working Paper Series 160, Finance Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney.
  8. Nicolas Beaulieu & Jean-Yves Duclos & Bernard Fortin & Manon Rouleau, 2005. "Intergenerational reliance on social assistance: Evidence from Canada," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 539-562, 09.
  9. Kenneth I. Wolpin & Petra E. Todd, 2006. "Assessing the Impact of a School Subsidy Program in Mexico: Using a Social Experiment to Validate a Dynamic Behavioral Model of Child Schooling and Fertility," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1384-1417, December.
  10. Card, David & Hyslop, Dean R., 2009. "The dynamic effects of an earnings subsidy for long-term welfare recipients: Evidence from the self sufficiency project applicant experiment," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 153(1), pages 1-20, November.
  11. Bruce D. Meyer, 2002. "Labor Supply at the Extensive and Intensive Margins: The EITC, Welfare, and Hours Worked," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 373-379, May.
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