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Welfare Work Requirements with Paternalistic Government Preferences

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  • Robert Moffitt

Abstract

Work requirements in means-tested transfer programs have grown in importance in the U.S. and in some other countries. The theoretical literature which considers their possible optimality generally operates within a traditional welfarist framework where some function of the utility of the poor is maximized. Here we consider a case where society is paternalistic and instead has preferences over the actual work allocations of welfare recipients. With this social welfare function, optimality of work requirements is possible but depends on the accuracy of the screening mechanism which assigns work requirements to some benefit recipients and not others. Numerical simulations show that the accuracy must be high for such optimality to occur. The simulations also show that earnings subsidies can be justified with the type of social welfare function used here.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Moffitt, 2005. "Welfare Work Requirements with Paternalistic Government Preferences," Economics Working Paper Archive 534, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics, revised Jun 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:jhu:papers:534
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    Cited by:

    1. Aaberge, Rolf & Flood, Lennart, 2013. "U.S. versus Sweden: The Effect of Alternative In-Work Tax Credit Policies on Labour Supply of Single Mothers," IZA Discussion Papers 7706, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Arthur Alik-Lagrange & Martin Ravallion, 2015. "Inconsistent Policy Evaluation: A Case Study for a Large Workfare Program," NBER Working Papers 21041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Ruggero Paladini, 2014. "Da Bentham alla tassazione ottimale," Public Finance Research Papers 2, Istituto di Economia e Finanza, DIGEF, Sapienza University of Rome.
    4. Craig Brett & Laurence Jacquet, 2011. "Workforce or Workfare?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3463, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Gelber, Alexander M. & Mitchell, Joshua W., 2009. "Taxes and Time Allocation: Evidence from Single Women," MPRA Paper 19148, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Tomer Blumkin & Yoram Margalioth & Efraim Sadka, 2013. "The desirability of workfare in the presence of misreporting," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 20(1), pages 71-88, February.
    7. Andres Drenik & Ricardo Perez-Truglia, 2017. "Sympathy for the Diligent and the Demand for Workfare," NBER Working Papers 23659, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Stefanie Behncke & Markus Frölich & Michael Lechner, 2009. "Targeting Labour Market Programmes - Results from a Randomized Experiment," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 145(III), pages 221-268, September.
    9. Jesse Rothstein, 2009. "Is the EITC Equivalent to an NIT? Conditional Cash Transfers and Tax Incidence," NBER Working Papers 14966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. 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.
    11. John Hatfield & Fuhito Kojima & Yusuke Narita, 2012. "Promoting School Competition Through School Choice: A Market Design Approach," Discussion Papers 12-019, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    12. Alari Paulus, 2016. "The antipoverty performance of universal and means-tested benefits with costly take-up," ImPRovE Working Papers 16/12, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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