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The Redistribution RecessionHow Labor Market Distortions Contracted the Economy$
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Casey B. Mulligan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199942213

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199942213.001.0001

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The Expanding Social Safety Net

The Expanding Social Safety Net

Chapter:
(p.41) 3 The Expanding Social Safety Net
Source:
The Redistribution Recession
Author(s):

Casey B. Mulligan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199942213.003.0003

Inflation-adjusted spending on means-tested subsidies has increased sharply since 2007, and most of the growth was due to changes in eligibility rules, and increases in subsidies per eligible person, rather than increases in the number of people who would have been eligible under pre-recession subsidy rules. In 2007, the non-elderly parts of the safety net paid about $10,000 in benefits per person-year that non-elderly heads of household or spouses were unemployed. By the end of 2009, the annual subsidy rate per person-year unemployed was up to $16,000. As a result, the average private returns to employment are substantially less than they were in 2007. One result of the chapter is a monthly time series for the overall safety net's marginal income tax rate from the point of view of the average marginal worker.

Keywords:   implicit tax rates, social safety net, work incentives, unemployment insurance, food stamps, 2008–9 recession

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