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Employment, hours of work and the optimal taxation of low income families

  • Richard Blundell

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London)

  • Andrew Shephard

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London)

This paper examines the tax schedule for low income families with children. We take an optimal tax approach based on a structural labour supply model which incorporates unobserved heterogeneity, fixed costs of work, childcare costs and the detailed non-convexities of the tax and transfer system. The motivation is the British earned income tax credit reform (WFTC) and its interaction with the tax and transfer system for lone parents. Our analysis also examines the case for the use of hours-contingent payments. The results point to a tax schedule which depends on the age of children, with tax credits only optimal for low earners with school age children. The results also suggest a welfare improving role for hours-contingent payments although this is mitigated when hours cannot be monitored or recorded accurately by the tax authorities.

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Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W08/01.

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Length: 59 pp.
Date of creation: Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:08/01
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  2. Beaudry, Paul & Blackorby, Charles & Szalay, Dezso, 2006. "Taxes and Employment Subsidies in Optimal Redistribution Programs (Revised Version)," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 779, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
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  10. van Soest, Arthur & Das, Marcel & Gong, Xiaodong, 2002. "A structural labour supply model with flexible preferences," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 107(1-2), pages 345-374, March.
  11. 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.
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  13. Saez, Emmanuel, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 205-29, January.
  14. Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 1996. "Welfare Transfers in Two-Parent Families: Labor Supply and Welfare Participation under AFDC-UP," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 295-332, March.
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  16. Rolf Aaberge & Ugo Colombino, 2008. "Designing Optimal Taxes with a Microeconometric Model of Household Labour Supply," CHILD Working Papers wp06_08, CHILD - Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic economics - ITALY.
  17. Gruber, Jon & Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The elasticity of taxable income: evidence and implications," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-32, April.
  18. Kelly Bishop & Bradley Heim & Kata Mihaly, 2009. "Single Women's Labor Supply Elasticities: Trends and Policy Implications," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(1), pages 146, October.
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  20. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
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  22. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2000. "Evaluation methods for non-experimental data," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(4), pages 427-468, January.
  23. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-35, December.
  24. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1992. "Workfare versus Welfare Incentive Arguments for Work Requirements in Poverty-Alleviation Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 249-61, March.
  25. Chone, Philippe & Laroque, Guy, 2005. "Optimal incentives for labor force participation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 395-425, February.
  26. Diamond, P., 1980. "Income taxation with fixed hours of work," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 101-110, February.
  27. Guy Laroque, 2005. "Income Maintenance and Labor Force Participation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 341-376, 03.
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