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The Effects of In-Work Benefit Reform in Britain on Couples: Theory and Evidence

Francesconi, M and Rainer, H and van der Klaauw, W (2007) The Effects of In-Work Benefit Reform in Britain on Couples: Theory and Evidence. UNSPECIFIED. CRIEFF Discussion Papers 0709.

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Abstract

This paper examines the effects of theWorking Families' Tax Credit (WFTC) on couples in Britain. We develop a simple model of household decisions which explicitly accounts for the role played by the tax and benefit system. Its main implications are then tested using panel data from the British Household Panel Survey collected between 1991 and 2002. Overall, the financial incentives of the reform had negligible effects on a wide range of married mothers' decisions, such as eligible (working at least 16 hours per week) and full-time employment (working at least 30 hours per week), employment transitions, childcare use, and divorce rates. Women's responses, however, were highly heterogeneous, depending on their partners' labour supply and earnings. Mothers married to low- income men showed larger responses in employment, especially if they had younger children. They were more likely to remain in the labour force and had higher rates at which they entered it. While more likely to receive the tax credit, they also experienced a greater risk of divorce. We find virtually no effect for women with higher-income husbands. Likewise, there are no statistically significant responses among married men.

Item Type: Monograph (UNSPECIFIED)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Tax credit; household labour supply; intrahousehold bargaining; divorce
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Economics, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2012 13:53
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2017 18:12
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/2593

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