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Must a Negative Income Tax Reduce Labor Supply? A Study of the Family's Allocation of Time


  • Mark R. Killingsworth

    (Fisk University)


Models of the labor supply behavior of single persons predict that a negative income tax (NIT) will always reduce the labor supply and earnings of such persons. I consider three models of family labor supply; and find that in all three, a NIT might raise a given family member's labor supply and might also raise total family labor supply: in one, a NIT could even raise total family earnings. These models and recent empirical estimates (showing positive NIT effects on some family members' labor amply and on some families' earnings) suggest that the work disincentive effects and the cost of a NIT may be less than has previously been thought.

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  • Mark R. Killingsworth, 1975. "Must a Negative Income Tax Reduce Labor Supply? A Study of the Family's Allocation of Time," Working Papers 458, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:78

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    JEL classification:

    • K34 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Tax Law

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