Now showing 1 - 10 of 28
  • Publication
    Optimal Commodity Taxation and Redistribution within Households
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2011-03) ;
    Using a collective model of consumption, we characterize optimal commodity taxes aimed at targeting speci fic individuals within the household. The main message is that distortionary indirect taxation can circumvent the agency problem of the household. Essentially, taxation should discourage less the consumption of a certain group of goods: those for which the slope of the Engel curves is larger for the targeted person.
  • Publication
    Relative Concerns of Rural-to-Urban Migrants in China
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2011-01) ; ;
    How the income of 'relevant others' affects well-being has received renewed interest in the recent literature using subjective data. Migrants constitutes a particularly interesting group to study this question: as they changed environment, they are likely to be concerned by several potential reference groups including the people 'left behind', other migrants and 'natives'. We focus here on the huge population of rural-to-urban migrants in China. We exploit a novel dataset that comprises samples of migrants and urban people living in the same cities, as well as rural households mostly surveyed in the provinces where migrants are coming from. After establishing these links, we find that the well-being of migrants is largely affected by relative concerns: results point to negative relative concerns toward other migrants and workers of home regions this status effect is particularly strong for migrants who wish to settle permanently in cities. We find in contrast a positive relative income effect vis-à-vis the urban reference group, interpreted as a signal effect: larger urban incomes indicate higher income prospects for the migrants. A richer pattern is obtained when sorting migrants according to the duration of stay, expectations to return to home countries and characteristics related to family circumstances, work conditions and community ties.
  • Publication
    The informal sector wage gap : new evidence using quantile estimations on panel data
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2009-05) ;
    This paper provides new evidence on the wage gap between informal and formal salary workers in South Africa, Brazil and Mexico. We use rich datasets that allow us to de…fine informality in a relatively comparable fashion across countries. We compute precise wage differentials by accounting for taxes paid in the formal sector. For each country, we analyze how the sectoral wage gap varies within groups, between groups and over time. To account for unobserved heterogeneity, we use large (unbalanced) panels to estimate …fixed effects models at the mean and at different points of the wage distribution. We fi…nd that unobserved heterogeneity explains a large part of the (conditional) wage gap. The remaining informal sector wage penalty is large in the lower part of the distribution but almost disappears at the top. The penalty primarily concerns young workers and is found to be procyclical. We carefully investigate the robustness of these results and discuss their policy implications as well as regularities across countries.
  • Publication
    Caught in the trap? The disincentive effect of social assistance
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2009-07) ;
    While …financial incentives usually have a signifi…cant effect on the labor supply of married women and single mothers, the evidence about the participation elasticity of childless singles, and single males especially, is more scant. This is, however, important in countries like France and Germany, where single individuals constitute the core of social assistance recipients. As yet, there is no conclusive evidence about whether, and to what extent, this group is affected by the fi…nancial disincentives embedded in the generous redistributive programs in place in these countries. In this paper, we exploit a particular feature of the main welfare scheme in France (Revenu Minimum d'Insertion, RMI), namely that childless adults under age 25 are not eligible for it. Using a regression discontinuity approach and the French micro-census data, we …find that the RMI reduces the employment of uneducated single men by 7% - 10%. Important policy implications are drawn.
  • Publication
    Beans for breakfast? How exportable is the British workfare model?
    (The Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), 2006-03) ;
    Social assistance and inactivity traps have long been considered amongst the main causes of the poor employment performance of EU countries. The success of New Labour has triggered a growing interests in instruments capable of combining the promotion of responsibility and self-sufficiency with solidarity with less skilled workers. Making-work-pay (MWP) policies, consisting of transfers to households with low earning capacity, have quickly emerged as the most politically acceptable instruments in tax-benefit reforms of many Anglo Saxon countries. This chapter explores the impact of introducing the British Working Families' Tax Credit in three EU countries with rather different labor market and welfare institutions: Finland, France and Germany. Simulating the reform reveals that, while first round effects on income distribution is considerable, the interaction of the new instrument with the structural characteristics of the economy and the population may lead to counterproductive second round effects (i.e. changes in economic behavior). The implementation of the reform, in this case, could only be justified if the social inclusion (i.e. transition into activity) of some specific household types (singles and single mothers) is valued more than a rise in the employment per se.
  • Publication
    Revisiting the cost of children : theory and evidence from Ireland
    (Irish Economic Association, 2009-01-13) ;
    In this paper, we suggest a collective model with parents and (young) children. We identify and estimate scale economies in households and the sharing rule between husband, wife and children. While adult shares and economies of scale are identi…ed thanks to the estimation of individual Engel curves on single individuals, the identi…cation of the resource share accruing to children (the cost of children) requires the observation of adult-speci…c goods as in the traditional Rothbarth method. The useful aspect of the present approach is that it requires only the estimation of Engel curves on cross-sectional data, i.e. price variation is not required. This is an advan- tage for many countries where price variations is indeed limited, as in our application on Irish data.
  • Publication
    The measurement of child costs : evidence from Ireland
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2010-01) ; ;
    We apply an extension of the Rothbarth approach to estimate the share of household resources accruing to children (i.e., the cost of children) in Ireland. The method also allows us to identify the economies of scale in the household and indifference scales in Lewbel (2003)'s sense. A practical aspect of the present approach is that it does not require price variation. The identi cation of the children's share requires the observation of adult-speci c goods as in the traditional Rothbarth method. We compare our fi ndings to previous results for Ireland.
  • Publication
    Distributional consequences of labor demand adjustments to a downturn : a model-based approach with application to Germany 2008-09
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2010-10) ; ; ;
    Macro-level changes can have substantial effects on the distribution of resources at the household level. While it is possible to speculate about which groups are likely to be hardest-hit, detailed distributional studies are still largely backward-looking. This paper suggests a straightforward approach to gauge the distributional and fiscal implications of large output changes at an early stage. We illustrate the method with an evaluation of the impact of the 2008-2009 crisis in Germany. We take as a starting point a very detailed administrative matched employer-employee dataset to estimate labor demand and predict the effects of output shocks at a disaggregated level. The predicted employment effects are then transposed to household-level microdata, in order to analyze the incidence of rising unemployment and reduced working hours on poverty and inequality. We focus on two alternative scenarios of the labor demand adjustment process, one based on reductions in hours (intensive margin) and close to the German experience, and the other assuming extensive margin adjustments that take place through layoffs (close to the US situation). Our results suggest that the distributional and fiscal consequences are less severe when labor demand reacts along the intensive margin.
  • Publication
    Optimal taxation, social contract and the four worlds of welfare capitalism
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2008-07) ;
    Drawing from the formal setting of the optimal tax theory (Mirrlees 1971), the paper identifies the level of Rawlsianism of some European social planner starting from the observation of the real data and redistribution systems and uses it to build a metric that allows measuring the degree of (dis)similarity of the redistribution systems analyzed. It must be considered as a contribution to the comparative research on the structure and typology of the Welfare State (Esping-Andersen, 1990). In particular we consider the optimal taxation model that combines both intensive (Mirrlees) and extensive (Diamond) margins of labor supply, as suggested by Saez (2002) in order to assess the degree of decommodification of seven European welfare systems. We recover the shape of the social welfare function implicit in taxbenefit systems by inverting the model on actual effective tax rates, as if existing systems were optimal according to some Mirrleesian social planner. Actual distributions of incomes before and after redistribution are obtained using a pan-European tax-benefit microsimulation model. Results are discussed in the light of standard classifications of welfare regimes in Europe. There appears to be a clear coincidence of high decommodification and high Rawlsianism in the Scandinavian, social-democratically influenced welfare states (Denmark). There is an equally clear coincidence of low decommodification and utilitarianism in the Anglo–Saxon liberal model (UK) and in the Southern European welfare states (Italy and Spain). Finally, the Continental European countries (Finland, Germany and France) group closely together in the middle of the scale, as corporatist and etatist.
  • Publication
    Is informality bad? Evidence from Brazil, Mexico and South Africa
    (University College Dublin. School of Economics, 2010-01) ;
    The informal sector plays an important role in the functioning of labor markets in emerging economies. To characterize better this highly heterogeneous sector, we conduct a distributional analysis of the earnings gap between informal and formal employment in Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, distinguishing between dependent and independent workers. For each country, we use rich panel data to estimate fi…xed effects quantile regressions to control for (time-invariant) unobserved heterogeneity. The dual nature of the informal sector emerges from our results. In the high-tier segment, self-employed workers receive a signi…cant earnings premium that may compensate the bene…fits obtained in formal jobs. In the lower end of the earnings distribution, both informal wage earners and independent (own account) workers face signi…cant earnings penalties vis-à-vis the formal sector. Yet the dual structure is not balanced in the same way in all three countries. Most of the self-employment carries a premium in Mexico. In contrast, the upper-tier segment is marginal in South Africa, and informal workers, both dependent and independent, form a largely penalized group. More consistent with the competitive view, earnings differentials are small at all levels in Brazil.