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Employment, Hours of Work and the Optimal Taxation of Low Income Families

  • Blundell, Richard

    ()

    (University College London)

  • Shephard, Andrew

    ()

    (Princeton University)

The optimal design of low income support is examined using a structural labour supply model. The approach incorporates unobserved heterogeneity, fixed costs of work, childcare costs and the detailed non-convexities of the tax and transfer system. The analysis considers purely Pareto improving reforms and also optimal design under social welfare functions with different degrees of inequality aversion. We explore the gains from tagging and also examine the case for the use of hours-contingent payments. Using the tax schedule for lone parents in the UK as our policy environment, the results point to a reformed non-linear tax schedule with tax credits only optimal for low earners. The results also suggest a welfare improving role for tagging according to child age and for hours-contingent payments, although the case for the latter is mitigated when hours cannot be monitored or recorded accurately by the tax authorities.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 5745.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: May 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Review of Economic Studies, 2012, 79(2), 481-510
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5745
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  2. Keane, Michael P, 1992. "A Note on Identification in the Multinomial Probit Model," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 10(2), pages 193-200, April.
  3. 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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  8. 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.
  9. Austan Goolsbee, 2000. "What Happens When You Tax the Rich? Evidence from Executive Compensation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(2), pages 352-378, April.
  10. Roger H. Gordon & Wojciech Kopczuk, 2011. "The choice of the personal income tax base," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58197, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  11. Richard Dickens & David T. Ellwood, 2001. "Whither poverty in Great Britain and the United States? The determinants of changing poverty and whether work will work," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20109, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  12. 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.
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  16. Emmanuel Saez, 2001. "Using Elasticities to Derive Optimal Income Tax Rates," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 205-229.
  17. 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.
  18. John Creedy & Guyonne Kalb, 2003. "Discrete Hours Labour Supply Modelling: Specification, Estimation and Simulation," Treasury Working Paper Series 03/20, New Zealand Treasury.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. Immervoll, Herwig & Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup & Saez, Emmanuel, 2004. "Welfare reform in European countries: a micro-simulation analysis," EUROMOD Working Papers EM1/04, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
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  24. Jon Gruber & Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "The Elasticity of Taxable Income: Evidence and Implications," NBER Working Papers 7512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-35, December.
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