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Does Work Pay in France? Monetary Incentives, Hours Constraints 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))

  • David Margolis

    ()

    (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

This paper uses a representative sample of individuals on France's main welfare program (the Revenu Minimum d'Insertion, or RMI) to estimate monetary incentives for employment among welfare recipients. Based on the estimated joint distribution of wages and hours potentially offered to each individual, we compute potential gains from working in a very detailedmanner. Relating these gains to observed employment, we then estimate a simple structural labor supply model. We find that potential gains are almost always positive but very small on average, especially for single mothers,because of the high implicit marginal tax rates embedded in the system. Employment rates are sensitive to incentives with extensive margin elasticitiesfor both men and women usually below one. Conditional on these elasticities, simulations indicate that existing policies devoted to reducing marginal tax rates at the bottom of the income distribution, such as the intéressement earnings top-up program, have little impact in this population due to their very limited scope. The recently introduced negative income tax (Prime pour l'emploi), seems to be an exception.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) with number halshs-00202299.

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Date of creation: Jul 2008
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, 2008, 92 (7), pp.1669-1697. <10.1016/j.jpubeco.2007.10.008>
Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-00202299
DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2007.10.008
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00202299
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/

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  1. Stewart, M.B. & Swaffield, J.K., 1996. "Constraints on the Desired Hours of Work of British Men," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 468, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  2. Abowd, John M. & Kramarz, Francis & Margolis, David N. & Philippon, Thomas, 2000. "The Tail of Two Countries: Minimum Wages and Employment in France and the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 203, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Juan Dolado & Francis Kramarz & Steven Machin & Alan Manning & David Margolis & Coen Teulings, 1996. "The Economic Impact of Minimum Wages in Europe," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00353896, HAL.
  4. Hajivassiliou, Vassilis A & Ruud, Paul A., 1993. "Classical Estimation Methods for LDV Models Using Simulation," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3cg196fr, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  5. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1999. "Welfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers," NBER Working Papers 7363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Marc Gurgand & David Margolis, 2000. "Minima Sociaux et Revenus du Travail en France," Working Papers 2000-62, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  7. Guy Laroque & Bernard Salanié, 1999. "Prélèvements et transferts sociaux : une analyse descriptive des incitations financières au travail," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 328(1), pages 3-19.
  8. Shulamit Kahn & Kevin Lang, 1996. "Hours Constraints and the Wage/Hours Locus," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 29(s1), pages 71-75, April.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Nada Eissa & Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner, 2004. "Evaluation of Four Tax Reforms in the United States: Labor Supply and Welfare Effects for Single Mothers," NBER Working Papers 10935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Kramarz, Francis & Philippon, Thomas, 2000. "The Impact of Differential Payroll Tax Subsidies on Minimum Wage Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 219, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & Thomas Lemieux & David Margolis, 2000. "Minimum Wages and Youth Employment in France and the United States," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00354400, HAL.
  14. William T. Dickens & Shelly J. Lundberg, 1985. "Hours Restrictions and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 1638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Arthur van Soest, 1995. "Structural Models of Family Labor Supply: A Discrete Choice Approach," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(1), pages 63-88.
  16. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David Margolis & Thomas Philippon, 1999. "Minimum Wages and Employment in France and the United States," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00370392, HAL.
  17. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  18. Cyrille Hagneré & Nathalie Picard & Alain Trannoy & Karine Van der Straeten, 2003. "L'importance des incitations financières dans l'obtention d'un emploi est-elle surestimée ?," IDEP Working Papers 0311, Institut d'economie publique (IDEP), Marseille, France.
  19. Guy Laroque & Bernard Salanie, 2002. "Labour market institutions and employment in France," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(1), pages 25-48.
  20. Shulamit Kahn & Kevin Lang, 1988. "The Effects of Hours Constraints on Labor Supply Estimates," NBER Working Papers 2647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. 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.
  22. David N. Margolis, 1995. "Cohort Effects and Returns to Seniority in France," CIRANO Working Papers 95s-46, CIRANO.
  23. Joseph G. Altonji & Christina H. Paxson, 1987. "Labor Supply Preferences, Hours Constraints, and Hours-Wage Tradeoffs," NBER Working Papers 2121, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Gurgand, M. & Margolis, D., 2001. "RMI et revenus du travail : une evaluation des gains financiers a l'emploi," Dossiers de recherche- 09, Centre d'etudes de l'emploi.
  25. Joseph G. Altonji & Christina H. Paxson, 1992. "Labor Supply, Hours Constraints, and Job Mobility," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(2), pages 256-278.
  26. Thomas Piketty, 1998. "L'impact des incitations financières au travail sur les comportements individuels : une estimation pour le cas français," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 132(1), pages 1-35.
  27. Denis Fougère & Laurence Rioux, 2001. "Le RMI treize ans après : entre redistribution et incitations," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 346(1), pages 3-12.
  28. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00353896 is not listed on IDEAS
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