Effect of Means-Tested Social Transfers on Labor Supply: Heads Versus Spouses: An Empirical Analysis of Work Disincentives in the Kyrgyz Republic

F. Gassmann*, L.Z. Trindade

*Corresponding author for this work

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Popular perceptions that the provision of income transfers to poor households creates work disincentives prevail. Existing evidence is mixed and depends on the country, the type of transfer, and the population group analyzed. This paper empirically estimates potential work disincentives of a means-tested social transfer for adults with different household positions. Using data from the Kyrgyz Integrated Household Survey 2012, the analysis compares labor market outcomes for household heads and spouses using quasiexperimental methods to assess transfer effects on labor supply. Overall, beneficiaries have on average higher labor market participation rates, but results differ by household position and socioeconomic context. Household heads in beneficiary households are less likely to be economically active than similar nonbeneficiaries. Yet, spouses are more likely to be economically active. Moreover, outcomes depend on whether the household is located in the south or the north of the country.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-214
Number of pages26
JournalEuropean Journal of Development Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

JEL classifications

  • i30 - Welfare and Poverty: General


  • intrahousehold allocation
  • Kyrgyz Republic
  • social transfers
  • transition economy
  • work disincentives
  • Transition economy
  • Work disincentives
  • Intrahousehold allocation
  • Social transfers

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