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Does Work Pay in France? Monetary Incentives and the Guaranteed Minimum Income

  • Gurgand, Marc

    ()

    (Paris School of Economics)

  • Margolis, David N.

    ()

    (Paris School of Economics)

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 Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1467.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as 'Does work pay in France? Monetary incentives, hours constraints, and the guaranteed minimum' in: Journal of Public Economics, 2008, 92 (7), 1669-1697
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1467
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "The Negative Income Tax and the Evolution of U.S. Welfare Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 119-140, Summer.
  4. Dickens, William T & Lundberg, Shelly J, 1993. "Hours Restrictions and Labor Supply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(1), pages 169-92, February.
  5. MARGOLIS, David N., 1995. "Cohort Effects and Returns to Seniority in France," Cahiers de recherche 9559, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  6. Robert Moffitt, 2002. "Welfare Programs and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 9168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. repec:fth:inseep:2000-62 is not listed on IDEAS
  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. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive Versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073, August.
  11. Euwals, R.W. & van Soest, A.H.O., 1996. "Desired and Actual Labour Supply of Unmarried Men and Women in the Netherlands," Discussion Paper 1996-23, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
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