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Evaluating the labour market impact of Working Families’ Tax Credit using differences-in-differences

By Richard Blundell, Mike Brewer and Andrew Shephard


Final version A difference-in-differences methodology cannot identify the labour market impact of WFTC alone because other taxes and benefits changed at the same time as its introduction. However, a comparison of the change in employment rates for parents against adults without children should underestimate any positive labour supply impact of WFTC for lone parents. Using two different household surveys, we find WFTC and associated reforms increased lone parents ’ employment by around 3.6 percentage points (ppt). For couples with children, we find that WFTC and associated reforms had no significant effect on mothers ’ employment, and was associated with a-0.5ppt change in fathers ’ employment, with the reforms encouraging households to have one earner rather than two. Overall, these changes correspond to between 25,000 and 59,000 extra workers depending upon the data source used. Robustness analysis of our identifying assumptions is generally favourable to our conclusions for lone parents

Year: 2011
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