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

  • Richard Blundell

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and IFS and UCL)

  • Andrew Shephard

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University of Pennsylvania)

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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File URL: http://www.ifs.org.uk/wps/wp0801.pdf
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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: 28 Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:08/01
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  1. Paul Beaudry & Charles Blackorby & Dezsö Szalay, 2009. "Taxes and Employment Subsidies in Optimal Redistribution Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 216-42, March.
  2. Dickens, Richard & Ellwood, David T., 2001. "Whither Poverty in Great Britain and the United States? The Determinants of Changing Poverty and Whether Work Will Work," Working Paper Series rwp01-010, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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  4. John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb, 2003. "Discrete Hours Labour Supply Modelling: Specification, Estimation and Simulation," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2003n16, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  5. 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.
  6. Train,Kenneth E., 2009. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521747387, November.
  7. M. Keane & R. Moffitt, . "A structural model of multiple welfare program participation and labor supply," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1080-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  8. Immervoll, Herwig & Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup & Saez, Emmanuel, 2005. "Welfare Reform in European Countries: A Microsimulation Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 1810, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  11. Diamond, P., 1980. "Income taxation with fixed hours of work," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 101-110, February.
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  15. Emmanuel Saez, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 205-229.
  16. van Soest, A.H.O. & Das, J.W.M. & Gong, X., 2001. "A structural labour supply model with flexible preferences," Other publications TiSEM 07a46b83-f128-4ea5-8498-9, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  17. Philippe Chone & Guy Laroque, 2001. "Optimal Incentives for Labor Force Participation," Working Papers 2001-26, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  18. Phelps, Edmund S, 1994. "Low-Wage Employment Subsidies versus the Welfare State," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 54-58, May.
  19. 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.
  20. Austan Goolsbee, 1997. "What Happens When You Tax the Rich? Evidence from Executive Compensation," NBER Working Papers 6333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Mike Brewer, 2001. "Comparing in-work benefits and the reward to work for families with children in the US and the UK," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 22(1), pages 41-77, January.
  22. 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.
  23. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
  24. 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.
  25. 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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