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Does work pay in France ? Monetary incentives and the guaranteed minimum income

  • Marc Gurgand

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC), CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - INSEE - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique, IRES - Institut de Recherches Economique et Sociales)

  • David Margolis


    (CREST - Centre de Recherche en Économie et Statistique - INSEE - École Nationale de la Statistique et de l'Administration Économique, TEAM - Théories et Applications en Microéconomie et Macroéconomie - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, IZA - Institute for the Study of Labor)

Most welfare programs generate high marginal tax rates on labor income. This paper uses a representative sample of individuals on France's main welfare program (the Revenu Minimum d'Insertion, or RMI) to estimate monetary gains to employment for welfare recipients. This is based on the distribution of potential monthly earnings faced by each individual, as inferred from the distribution of observed wages and working time. Taking account of the welfare earnings top-up program (intéressement), we find that gains are almost always positive, but that their amount is very low, especially for single mothers. Intéressement is found to have a small impact, because of its provisional nature. Gains are positively related to the probability that a welfare recipient in 1996 will be observed in employment in 1998. Using a simple structural model, we interpret this as a labor supply effect.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) with number halshs-00193282.

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Date of creation: Jan 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques 2005.02 - ISSN : 1624-0340. 2005
Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-00193282
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  1. Euwals, Rob & van Soest, Arthur, 1999. "Desired and actual labour supply of unmarried men and women in the Netherlands," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 95-118, March.
  2. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073.
  3. Mitali Das & Whitney K. Newey & Francis Vella, 2003. "Nonparametric Estimation of Sample Selection Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 33-58.
  4. William T. Dickens & Shelly J. Lundberg, 1985. "Hours Restrictions and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 1638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Robert Moffitt, 2002. "Welfare Programs and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 9168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Hajivassiliou, Vassilis A. & Ruud, Paul A., 1986. "Classical estimation methods for LDV models using simulation," Handbook of Econometrics, in: R. F. Engle & D. McFadden (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 40, pages 2383-2441 Elsevier.
  7. David Margolis, 1996. "Cohort Effects and Returns to Seniority in France," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00353897, HAL.
  8. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  9. Marc Gurgand & David Margolis, 2000. "Minima Sociaux et Revenus du Travail en France," Working Papers 2000-62, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  10. repec:adr:anecst:y:1996:i:41-42:p:18 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. repec:adr:anecst:y:1996:i:41-42 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "The Negative Income Tax and the Evolution of U.S. Welfare Policy," NBER Working Papers 9751, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00353897 is not listed on IDEAS
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