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Econ 339 Winter 2008 Problem Set 2 - Solutions

# Econ 339 Winter 2008 Problem Set 2 - Solutions - Econ 339...

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Econ 339 Winter Quarter 2008 Problem Set 2 - Solutions 1. Book Problems (p. 66): 11, 12 2-11. Explain why a lump sum government transfer can entice some workers to stop working (and entices no one to start working) while the earned income tax credit can entice some people who otherwise would not work to start working (and entices no one to stop working). A lump sum transfer is associated with an income effect but not a substitution effect, because it doesn’t affect the wage rate. Thus, if leisure is a normal good, a lump sum transfer will likely cause workers to work fewer hours (and certainly not cause them to work more hours) while possibly enticing some workers to exit the labor force. On the other hand, the Earned Income Tax Credit raises the effective wage of low-income workers by 20 percent (at least for the poorest workers). Thus, someone who had not been working faces a wage that is 20 percent higher than it otherwise was. This increase may be enough to encourage the person to start working. For example, if a worker’s reservation wage is \$6.50 per hour but the only job she can find pays \$6.00 per hour, she will not work. Under the earned income tax credit, however, the worker views this same job as paying \$7.20 per hour, which exceeds her reservation wage. Furthermore, the EITC cannot encourage a worker to exit the labor force, as the benefits of the EITC are received only by workers. 2-12. In 1999, 4,860 TANF recipients were asked how many hours they worked in the previous week. In 2000, 4,392 of these recipients were again subject to the same TANF rules and were again asked their hours of work during the previous week. The remaining 468 individuals were

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Econ 339 Winter 2008 Problem Set 2 - Solutions - Econ 339...

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