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Evaluating the German "Mini-Job" Reform Using a True Natural Experiment

  • Marco Caliendo
  • Katharina Wrohlich

Increasing work incentives for people with low incomes is a common topic in the policy debate across European countries. The "Mini-Job" reform in Germany - introduced on April 1, 2003 - can be seen in line with these policies, exempting labour income below a certain threshold from taxes and employees' social security contributions. We carry out an ex-post evaluation to identify the short-run effects of this reform. Our identification strategy uses an exogenous variation in the interview months in the German Socio-Economic Panel, that allows us to distinguish groups that are (or are not) affected by the reform. To account for seasonal effects we additionally use a difference-in-differences strategy. The results show that the short-run effects of the reform are limited. We find no significant short-run effects for marginal employment. However, there is evidence that single men who are already employed react immediately and increase secondary job holding.

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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 569.

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Length: 21 p.
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp569
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  1. 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.
  2. Jürgen Schupp & Elisabeth Birkner, 2004. "Kleine Beschäftigungsverhältnisse: kein Jobwunder: dauerhafter Rückgang von Zweitbeschäftigungen?," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 71(34), pages 487-497.
  3. Scholz, John Karl, 1996. "In-Work Benefits in the United States: The Earned Income Tax Credit," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(434), pages 156-69, January.
  4. Moffitt, Robert A., 2002. "Welfare programs and labor supply," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 34, pages 2393-2430 Elsevier.
  5. Kristian Orsini, 2006. "Tax-benefits reforms and the labor market: evidence from Belgium and other EU countries," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces0606, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
  6. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
  7. 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.
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