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Unintended labour supply effects of cash transfer programmes: Evidence from South Africa's old age pension

  • Abel, Martin

    ()

    (Public Policy at Harvard University)

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    Employing South Africa's first nationally representative panel data set, I find that having old age pension recipients in the household adversely affects employment outcomes of prime-aged adults both by reducing the probability that the unemployed find work and by increasing the likelihood that the previously employed lose their job. These effects seems to operate through the income mechanism: an increase in pension resources increases the reservation wage and lowers labour force participation of prime-aged household members. By contrast I find evidence against the hypothesis that pensioners provide childcare which allows parents to work. Instead gaining a pensioner lowers the probability that mothers are employed. Adverse employment effects are found for salaried work and self-employment while the pension does not affect casual work. Impact estimates are larger in metropolitan areas which questions previous studies that find that pension resources finance labour migration. Results are robust to a series of novel robustness tests that exploit institutional features of the old age pension and disability grant.

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    File URL: http://www.opensaldru.uct.ac.za/bitstream/handle/11090/672/2013_114_Saldruwp.pdf?sequence=3
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    Paper provided by Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town in its series SALDRU Working Papers with number 114.

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    Date of creation: 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:ldr:wpaper:114
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    1. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 1996. "Large Cash Transfers to the Elderly in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 5572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Klasen, Stephan & Woolard, Ingrid, 2000. "Surviving Unemployment without State Support: Unemployment and Household Formation in South Africa," IZA Discussion Papers 237, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Vimal Ranchhod, 2009. "Household responses to adverse income shocks: Pensioner out-migration and mortality in South Africa," Working Papers 133, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    4. Ingrid Woolard & Murray Leibbrandt, 2010. "The Evolution and Impact of Unconditional Cash Transfers in South Africa," SALDRU Working Papers 51, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
    5. Cally Ardington & Anne Case & Victoria Hosegood, 2007. "Labor supply responses to large social transfers: Longitudinal evidence from South Africa," SALDRU Working Papers 17, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
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    8. Sarah Baird & Craig McIntosh & Berk �zler, 2011. "Cash or Condition? Evidence from a Cash Transfer Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(4), pages 1709-1753.
    9. Esther Duflo, 2000. "Grandmothers and Granddaughters: Old Age Pension and Intra-household Allocation in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 8061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Milton Friedman, 1957. "Introduction to "A Theory of the Consumption Function"," NBER Chapters, in: A Theory of the Consumption Function, pages 1-6 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
    12. Posel, Dorrit & Fairburn, James A. & Lund, Frances, 2006. "Labour migration and households: A reconsideration of the effects of the social pension on labour supply in South Africa," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 836-853, September.
    13. O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt7t44m5b0, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    14. Parker, Susan W. & Rubalcava, Luis & Teruel, Graciela, 2008. "Evaluating Conditional Schooling and Health Programs," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
    15. John Maluccio & Natàlia Caldés & David Coady, 2005. "The Cost of Poverty Alleviation Transfer Programs: A Comparative Analysis of Three Programs in Latin America," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0527, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
    16. Camerer, Colin & Babcock, Linda & Loewenstein, George & Thaler, Richard, 1996. "Labor Supply of New York City Cab Drivers: One Day At A time," Working Papers 960, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
    17. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan & Douglas Miller, 2003. "Public Policy and Extended Families: Evidence from Pensions in South Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 27-50, June.
    18. Milton Friedman, 1957. "A Theory of the Consumption Function," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number frie57-1.
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