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Time-inconsistency and Welfare Program Participation: Evidence from the NLSY

We empirically implement a dynamic structural model of labor supply and welfare program participation for agents with potentially time-inconsistent preferences. Using panel data on the choices of single women with children from the NLSY 1979, we provide estimates of the degree of time-inconsistency, and of its influence on the welfare take-up decision. With these estimates, we conduct counterfactual experiments to quantify the utility loss stemming from the inability to commit to future decisions, and the potential utility gains from commitment mechanisms such as welfare time limits and work requirements.

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File URL: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d14b/d1465.pdf
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Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1465.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in International Economic Review (November 2009), 50(4): 1043-1077
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1465
Contact details of provider: Postal: Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA
Phone: (203) 432-3702
Fax: (203) 432-6167
Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/

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Order Information: Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

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  9. Miller, Robert A. & Sanders, Seth G., 1997. "Human capital development and welfare participation," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 1-43, June.
  10. Christopher Harris & David Laibson, 1999. "Dynamic Choices of Hyperbolic Consumers," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1886, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  11. Ted O'Donoghue and Matthew Rabin ., 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Economics Working Papers 97-253, University of California at Berkeley.
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  17. Zvi Eckstein & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1999. "Why Youths Drop Out of High School: The Impact of Preferences, Opportunities, and Abilities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(6), pages 1295-1340, November.
  18. Ernst R. Berndt & Bronwyn H. Hall & Robert E. Hall & Jerry A. Hausman, 1974. "Estimation and Inference in Nonlinear Structural Models," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 3, number 4, pages 653-665 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Adriana Kugler & Robert M. Sauer, 2004. "Doctors Without Borders? Re-licensing Requirements and Negative Selection in the Market for Physicians," Working Papers 133, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  20. M. Daniele Paserman, 2004. "Job Search and Hyperbolic Discounting: Structural Estimation and Policy Evaluation," 2004 Meeting Papers 99, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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  23. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 2001. "The Effect of Parental Transfers and Borrowing Constraints on Educational Attainment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1051-1103, November.
  24. Robert J. Barro, 1999. "Ramsey Meets Laibson In The Neoclassical Growth Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1125-1152, November.
  25. Van Der Klaauw, W., 1993. "Female Labor Supply and Marital Status Decisions: A Life Cycle Model," Working Papers 93-23, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
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  27. Fang, Hanming & Silverman, Dan, 2004. "On the compassion of time-limited welfare programs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1445-1470, July.
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