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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 - 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)

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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Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:halshs-00202299
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  1. Shulamit Kahn & Kevin Lang, 1988. "The Effects of Hours Constraints on Labor Supply Estimates," NBER Working Papers 2647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
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  4. 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.
  5. Vassilis A. Hajivassiliou and Paul A. Ruud., 1993. "Classical Estimation Methods for LDV Models Using Simulation," Economics Working Papers 93-219, University of California at Berkeley.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & Thomas Lemieux & David N. Margolis, 2000. "Minimum Wages and Youth Employment in France and the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries, pages 427-472 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  12. 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 ?," Working Papers hal-00242960, HAL.
  13. Abowd, J.M. & Kramarz, F. & Margolis, D.N., 1998. "Minimum Wages and Employment in France and the United States," Papiers du Laboratoire de Microéconomie Appliquée 1998-12, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1).
  14. 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.
  15. Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive Versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," NBER Working Papers 7708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Robert Moffitt, 2002. "Welfare Programs and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 9168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. 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.
  20. David N. MARGOLIS, 1996. "Cohort Effects and Returns to Seniority in France," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 41-42, pages 443-464.
  21. Kramarz, Francis & Philippon, Thomas, 2001. "The impact of differential payroll tax subsidies on minimum wage employment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 115-146, October.
  22. 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.
  23. 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).
  24. Marc Gurgand & David Margolis, 2000. "Minima Sociaux et Revenus du Travail en France," Working Papers 2000-62, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  25. 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.
  26. Bernard Salanié & Guy Laroque, 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.
  27. Marc Gurgand & David Margolis, 2001. "RMI et revenus de travail : une évaluation des gains financier à l'emploi," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00353839, HAL.
  28. William T. Dickens & Shelly J. Lundberg, 1985. "Hours Restrictions and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 1638, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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