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In-Work Benefits for Married Couples: An Ex-Ante Evaluation of EITC and WTC Policies in Italy

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  • De Luca, Giuseppe

    () (ISFOL)

  • Rossetti, Claudio

    () (LUISS Guido Carli University)

  • Vuri, Daniela

    () (University of Rome Tor Vergata)

Abstract

This paper investigates labor supply and redistributive effects of in-work benefits for Italian married couples using a tax-benefit microsimulation model and a multi-sectoral discrete choice model of labor supply. We consider two in-work benefit schemes following the key principles of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Working Tax Credit (WTC) existing in the US and the UK, respectively. The standard design of these in-work benefits is however augmented with a new benefit premium for two-earner households in order to overcome the well-known disincentive effects that these welfare instruments may generate on secondary earners. In simulation, the proposed in-work benefits are financed through the abolition of Italian family allowances for dependent employees and contingent workers thus ensuring tax revenue neutrality. We show that our EITC and WTC reforms have strong positive effects on labor supply of wives, weak negative effects on labor supply of husbands, and strong positive effects on equity. The EITC is more effective than the WTC in boosting employment of wives, while the WTC is more effective than the EITC in fighting poverty. In both schemes, the trade-off between labor supply incentives and redistributive effects is crucially related to the new benefit premium for two-earner households. Other things being equal, tax revenue neutrality implies that a higher value of this policy coefficient yields stronger incentive effects and weaker redistributive effects.

Suggested Citation

  • De Luca, Giuseppe & Rossetti, Claudio & Vuri, Daniela, 2012. "In-Work Benefits for Married Couples: An Ex-Ante Evaluation of EITC and WTC Policies in Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 6739, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6739
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicholas-James Clavet & Luca Tiberti & Marko Vladisavljevic & Jelena Zarkovic Rakic & Aleksandra Anic & Gorana Krstic & Sasa Randelovic, 2017. "Reduction of child poverty in Serbia: Improved cash-transfers or higher work incentives for parents?," Working Papers PMMA 2017-04, PEP-PMMA.
    2. Ugo Colombino, 2015. "The Istat Microsimulation Models," Rivista di statistica ufficiale, ISTAT - Italian National Institute of Statistics - (Rome, ITALY), vol. 17(2), pages 5-15.
    3. Kurowska, Anna & Myck, Michal & Wrohlich, Katharina, 2015. "Making Work Pay: Increasing Labour Supply of Secondary Earners in Low Income Families with Children," IZA Discussion Papers 9531, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Lane Kenworthy, 2015. "Do employment-conditional earnings subsidies work?," ImPRovE Working Papers 15/10, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    5. Mojsoska-Blazevski, Nikica & Petreski, Marjan & Petreska, Despina, 2013. "Increasing labour market activity of poor and female: Let’s make work pay in Macedonia," MPRA Paper 57228, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Blazevski, Nikica Mojsoska & Petreski, Marjan & Petreska, Despina, 2013. "Increasing labour market activity of the poor and females: let’s make work pay in Macedonia," EUROMOD Working Papers EM16/13, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    in-work benefits; multi-sectoral labor supply; poverty; microsimulation; married couples; Italian tax-benefit system;

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs

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