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U.S. versus Sweden. The effect of alternative in-work tax credit policies on labour supply of single mothers

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Abstract

An essential difference between the design of the Swedish and the US in-work tax credit systems relates to their functional forms. Where the US earned income tax credit (EITC) is phased out and favours low and medium earnings, the Swedish system is not phased out and offers 17 and 7 per cent tax credit for low and medium low incomes and a lump-sum tax deduction equal to approximately 2300 USD for medium and higher incomes. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the efficiency and distributional effects of these two alternative tax credit designs. We pay particular attention to labour market exclusion; i.e. individuals within as well as outside the labour force are included in the analysis. To highlight the importance of the joint effects from the tax and the benefit systems it appears particular relevant to analyse the labour supply behaviour of single mothers. To this end, we estimate a structural random utility model of labour supply and welfare participation. The model accounts for heterogeneity in consumption-leisure preferences as well as for heterogeneity and constraints in job opportunities. The results of the evaluation show that the Swedish system without phase-out generates substantial larger labour supply responses than the US version of the tax credit. Due to increased labour supply and decline in welfare participation we find that the Swedish reform is self-financing for single mothers, whereas a 10 per cent deficit follows from the adapted EITC version used in this study. However, where income inequality rises modestly under the Swedish tax credit system, the US version with phase-out leads to a significant reduction in the income inequality.

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  • Rolf Aaberge & Lennart Flood, 2013. "U.S. versus Sweden. The effect of alternative in-work tax credit policies on labour supply of single mothers," Discussion Papers 761, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:761
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    1. repec:eme:ceapzz:s0573-855520140000293006 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ive Marx & Brian Nolan & Javier Olivera, 2014. "The Welfare State and Anti-Poverty Policy in Rich Countries," Working Papers 1403, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    3. Åsa Johansson, 2016. "Public Finance, Economic Growth and Inequality: A Survey of the Evidence," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1346, OECD Publishing.
    4. Lane Kenworthy, 2015. "Do employment-conditional earnings subsidies work?," ImPRovE Working Papers 15/10, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    5. Lundberg, Jacob, 2017. "Analyzing tax reforms using the Swedish Labour Income Microsimulation Model," Working Paper Series 2017:12, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    6. Rolf Aaberge & Ugo Colombino, 2014. "Labour Supply Models," Contributions to Economic Analysis,in: Handbook of Microsimulation Modelling, volume 127, pages 167-221 Emerald Publishing Ltd.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labour supply; Single mothers; In-work tax credit; Social assistance; Random utility model;

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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