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Has "In-Work" Benefit Reform Helped the Labour Market?

  • Hilary Hoynes
  • Richard Blundell

The aim of this paper is to examine the labour market impact of in-work benefit reform in the UK. Evidence is drawn from the impact of earlier reforms in the UK and similar reforms in the US. We focus on the impact on labour supply -- employment and hours of work. In the US a large proportion of the dramatic increase in participation among low educated single parents in the 1990s has been attributed to the increased generosity of the EITC. The impact of apparently similar reforms in the UK appears to have been smaller. We argue that these differences can be attributed to four factors: the impact of interactions with other means tested benefits in the UK; the importance of workless couples with children in the UK, who make up nearly 50% of the recipients in the UK; the level of income support given to non-working parents; and the strength of the economic upturn in the US during the 1990s.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8546.

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Date of creation: Oct 2001
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Publication status: published as Has 'In-Work' Benefit Reform Helped the Labor Market? , Richard Blundell, Hilary W. Hoynes. in Seeking a Premier Economy: The Economic Effects of British Economic Reforms, 1980-2000 , Card, Blundell, and Freeman. 2004
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8546
Note: LS PE
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  1. Keane, Michael & Moffitt, Robert, 1998. "A Structural Model of Multiple Welfare Program Participation and Labor Supply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(3), pages 553-89, August.
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  6. Rebecca M. Blank, David Card and Philip K. Robins, 1999. "Financial Incentives for Increasing Work and Income Among Low-Income Families," Economics Working Papers E99-264, University of California at Berkeley.
  7. Eissa, Nada & Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 1999. "The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Labor Supply of Married Couples," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1024b9z8, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  8. 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," NBER Working Papers 8253, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Bingley, Paul & Walker, Ian, 1997. "The Labour Supply, Unemployment and Participation of Lone Mothers in In-Work Transfer Programmes," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(444), pages 1375-90, September.
  10. Eissa, Nada & Liebman, Jeffrey B, 1996. "Labor Supply Response to the Earned Income Tax Credit," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 605-37, May.
  11. Rebecca M. Blank, 2001. "Declining caseloads/increased work: what can we conclude about the effects of welfare reform?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sep, pages 25-36.
  12. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Julian McCrae & Costas Meghir, 2000. "The labour market impact of the working families’ tax credit," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 75-103, March.
  13. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 2001. "Using The EITC to Help Poor Families: New Evidence and a Comparison with the Minimum Wage," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(n. 2), pages 281-318, June.
  14. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Costas Meghir, 1998. "Estimating Labor Supply Responses Using Tax Reforms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 827-862, July.
  15. Andrew Dilnot & Alan Duncan, 1992. "Lone mothers, family credit and paid work," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 13(1), pages 1-21, February.
  16. Schoeni, R.F. & Blank, R.M., 2000. "What Has Welfare Reform Accomplished? Impacts on Welfare Participation, Employment, Income, Poverty, and Family Structure," Papers 00-02, RAND - Labor and Population Program.
  17. Chris Giles & Paul Johnson & Julian McCrae, 1997. "Housing benefit and financial returns to employment for tenants in the social sector," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 18(1), pages 49-72, February.
  18. 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.
  19. Meyer, Bruce D. & Rosenbaum, Dan T., 2000. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1027-62, December.
  20. Card, D. & Michalopoulos, C. & Robins, P.K., 2001. "Measuring Wage Growth Among Former Welfare Recipients," Papers 2001-5, Gouvernement du Canada - Human Resources Development.
  21. Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 1996. "Welfare Transfers in Two-Parent Families: Labor Supply and Welfare Participation under AFDC-UP," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 295-332, March.
  22. Blundell, Richard, 2001. "Welfare Reform for Low Income Workers," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(2), pages 189-214, April.
  23. James J. Heckrnan, 1974. "Effects of Child-Care Programs on Women's Work Effort," NBER Chapters, in: Economics of the Family: Marriage, Children, and Human Capital, pages 491-524 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1998. "The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Incentives and Income Distribution," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 12, pages 83-120 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Blundell, Richard, 2000. "Work Incentives and 'In-Work' Benefit Reforms: A Review," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 27-44, Spring.
  26. V. Joseph Hotz & John Karl Scholz, 2001. "The Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Working Papers 8078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Note: For best results & the figures should be printed on a non-Postscript printer. Hoynes & H., . "The Employment, Earnings, and Income of Less-Skilled Workers over the Business Cycle," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1199-99, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  28. Robert Walker & Michael Wiseman, 1997. "The possibility of a British earned income tax credit," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 18(4), pages 401-425, November.
  29. Hoynes, Hilary & MaCurdy, Thomas, 1994. "Has the Decline in Benefits Shortened Welfare Spells?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 43-48, May.
  30. Scholz, John Karl, 1996. "In-Work Benefits in the United States: The Earned Income Tax Credit," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(434), pages 156-69, January.
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