Do Financial Incentives Encourage Welfare Recipients to Work? Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation of the Self-Sufficiency Project
This paper reports on a randomized evaluation of an earnings subsidy offered to long-term welfare recipients in Canada. The program -- known as the Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP) -- provides a supplement equal to one-half of the difference between a target earnings level and a participant's actual earnings. The SSP supplement is similar to a negative income tax with two important differences: (1) eligibility is limited to long-term welfare recipients who find a full-time job; and (2) the payment depends on individual earnings rather than family income. Our evaluation is based on a classical randomized design: one half of a group of single parents who had been on welfare for over a year were eligible to receive the SSP supplement, while the other half were assigned to a control group. Results for an early cohort of SSP participants and controls suggest that the financial incentives of the Self-Sufficiency Program increase labor market attachment and reduce welfare participation.
|Date of creation:||Aug 1996|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Card, David and Philip K. Robins. "How Important Are 'Entry Effects' In Financial Incentive Programs For Welfare Recipients? Experimental Evidence From The Self-Sufficiency Project," Journal of Econometrics, 2005, v125(1-2,Mar-Apr), 113-139.|
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- Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-35, December.
- Philip K. Robins, 1985. "A Comparison of the Labor Supply Findings from the Four Negative Income Tax Experiments," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(4), pages 567-582.
- Kesselman, J.R. & Riddell, W.C., 1991. "Assessment of Alternative Subsidy Treatments for the EIC Self-Sufficiency Project," Papers r-95-5, Gouvernement du Canada - Human Resources Development.
- Rebecca M. Blank & Maria J. Hanratty, 1993. "Responding to Need: A Comparison of Social Safety Nets in Canada and the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Small Differences That Matter: Labor Markets and Income Maintenance in Canada and the United States, pages 191-232 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lemieux, Thomas & Fortin, Bernard & Frechette, Pierre, 1994. "The Effect of Taxes on Labor Supply in the Underground Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 231-54, March.
- Saul D. Hoffman & Laurence S. Seidman, 1990. "The Earned Income Tax Credit," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number eitc, December.
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