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The consequences of 'in-work' benefit reform in Britain: new evidence from panel data

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  • Francesconi, Marco
  • van der Klaauw, Wilbert

Abstract

In October 1999, the British government enacted the Working Families' Tax Credit, a generous tax credit aimed at encouraging work among low -income families with children. This paper uses longitudinal data collected between 1991 and 2001 to evaluate the effect of this reform on single mothers. We identify this impact by comparing changes in behavior of lone mothers to changes for single women without children. Our results show that the financial incentives of the reform had powerful effects on a wide range of lone mothers' decisions. The reform led to a substantial increase in employment rates of about 7 percentage points, which was driven by both higher rates at which lone mothers remained in the labor force and higher rates at which they entered it. Women's responses were highly heterogeneous, with larger effects for mothers with one pre-school aged child, and virtually no effect for mothers with multiple older children. The reform also led to significant reductions in single mothers' subsequent fertility and in the rate at which they married. Our findings suggest that the generous childcare tax credit component of the reform played a key role in explaining the estimated employment responses. Finally, we find relatively large behavioral effects in anticipation of the actual reform, which emphasizes the importance of allowing for such effects in future evaluation research.

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  • Francesconi, Marco & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2004. "The consequences of 'in-work' benefit reform in Britain: new evidence from panel data," ISER Working Paper Series 2004-13, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2004-13
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    1. Flight's right
      by chris dillow in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2010-11-25 23:39:08

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    2. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2005. "Low-fee ($5/day/child) Regulated Childcare Policy and the Labor Supply of Mothers with Young Children: A Natural Experiment from Canada," CIRANO Working Papers 2005s-09, CIRANO.
    3. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan, 2005. "The Québec's Experiment of $5 per Day per Child Childcare Policy and Mother's Labour Supply: Evidence Based on the Five Cycles of the NLSCY," CIRANO Project Reports 2005rp-21, CIRANO.
    4. Peter J. Dolton & Michael P. Kidd & Jonas Fooken, 2015. "Get a Life? The Impact of the European Working Time Directive: The Case of UK Senior Doctors," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(10), pages 1272-1288, October.
    5. Konle-Seidl, Regina, 2005. "Lessons learned: Internationale Evaluierungsergebnisse zu Wirkungen aktiver und aktivierender Arbeitsmarktpolitik," IAB-Forschungsbericht 200509, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    6. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan & Matthieu Verstraete, 2006. "Impact of Early Childhood Care and Education on Children's Preschool Cognitive Development: Canadian Results from a Large Quasi-experiment," Cahiers de recherche 0636, CIRPEE.
    7. Lefebvre, Pierre & Merrigan, Philip & Verstraete, Matthieu, 2009. "Dynamic labour supply effects of childcare subsidies: Evidence from a Canadian natural experiment on low-fee universal child care," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 490-502, October.
    8. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan & Francis Roy-Desrosiers, 2011. "Québec's Childcare Universal Low Fees Policy 10 Years After: Effects, Costs and Benefits," Cahiers de recherche 1101, CIRPEE.
    9. Brewer, Mike & Duncan, Alan & Shephard, Andrew & Suarez, Maria Jose, 2006. "Did working families' tax credit work? The impact of in-work support on labour supply in Great Britain," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 699-720, December.
    10. Chiara Daniela Pronzato, 2015. "Fighting Lone Mothers’ Poverty Through In-Work Benefits: Methodological Issues and Policy Suggestions," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 61(1), pages 95-122.
    11. Ghazala Azmat, 2006. "The impact of tax credits on labour supply," Economics Working Papers 979, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2009.
    12. Pierre Lefebvre & Philip Merrigan & Matthieu Verstraete, 2008. "Childcare Policy and Cognitive Outcomes of Children: Results from a Large Scale Quasi-Experiment on Universal Childcare in Canada," Cahiers de recherche 0823, CIRPEE.
    13. Cordula Zabel, 2008. "Patterns of partnership formation among lone mothers in Russia," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2008-020, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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