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Human well-being and in-work benefits: a randomized controlled trial

  • Dr Richard Dorsett

    ()

Many politicians believe they can intervene in the economy to improve people’s lives.  But can they?  In a social experiment carried out in the United Kingdom, extensive in-work support was randomly assigned among 16,000 disadvantaged people.  We follow a sub-sample of 3,500 single parents for 5 ensuing years.  The results reveal a remarkable, and troubling, finding.  Long after eligibility had ceased, the treated individuals had substantially lower psychological well-being, worried more about money, and were increasingly prone to debt.  Thus helping people apparently hurt them.  We discuss a behavioral framework consistent with our findings and reflect on implications for policy.

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Paper provided by National Institute of Economic and Social Research in its series NIESR Discussion Papers with number 11791.

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Date of creation: Feb 2014
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Handle: RePEc:nsr:niesrd:11791
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