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Alleviating unemployment traps in Finland: Can the efficiency-equity trade-off be avoided?

  • Pertti Honkanen

    ()

    (The Social Security Institution of Finland)

  • Markus Jäntti

    ()

    (Åbo Akademi University)

  • Jukka Pirttilä

    ()

    (Labour Institute for Economic Research)

Using a new comprehensive tax-benefit model, JUTTA, this paper examines how labour supply incentives – both to participate in the labour force (the “extensive” margin) and to supply extra hours of work (the “incentive” margin) – have changed in Finland in 1995-2007. The results reveal that the average participation tax rate has decreased by 10 percentage points to 62 per cent. Despite the significant improvement in incentives, some of the unemployed who have children, especially single parents, are still in an unemployment trap, i.e. the disposable family income does not significantly increase if the person is employed. We therefore present simulations where the social security system is reformed, without reducing minimum benefits, so that the income dependence of some of the benefits is reduced. This reform redistributes income to the poor and, at the same time, improves the incentives to participate in the labour force. We also compare the effects of this policy with those of a set of more traditional type of policies, consisting of across-the-board tax cuts and increases in income support.

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Paper provided by Aboa Centre for Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 24.

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Length: 35
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tkk:dpaper:dp24
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  1. Immervoll, Herwig & Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup & Saez, Emmanuel, 2004. "Welfare reform in European countries: a micro-simulation analysis," EUROMOD Working Papers EM1/04, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  2. Kristian Orsini & Olivier Bargain, 2006. "Beans for breakfast? How exportable is the British workfare model?," Open Access publications 10197/557, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  3. Nada Eissa & Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner, 2004. "Evaluation of Four Tax Reforms in the United States: Labor Supply and Welfare Effects for Single Mothers," NBER Working Papers 10935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Bargain, Olivier & Orsini, Kristian, 2004. "In-work policies in Europe: killing two birds with one stone?," EUROMOD Working Papers EM4/04, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  5. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Costas Meghir, 1995. "Estimating labour supply responses using tax reforms," IFS Working Papers W95/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Emmanuel Saez, 2002. "Optimal Income Transfer Programs: Intensive Versus Extensive Labor Supply Responses," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(3), pages 1039-1073, August.
  7. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
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