A think-tank report said that nearly three-quarters of in-work benefit claimants (970,000 in total) were not looking for additional work. Benefit conditions should be tightened to force them to do more to increase their hours and earnings.
Source: Paul Garaud and Matthew Oakley, Slow Progress: Improving progression in the UK labour market, Policy Exchange
A paper examined trends in low-wage service employment across 19 European countries between 1992 and 2010 in order to establish whether its expansion and poor quality were both as inevitable and as inter-related as the literature suggested. It concluded that socio-economic changes were driving the expansion of low-wage service jobs and that this process led to a service 'underclass'.
Source: Moira Nelson, Low-Wage Service Occupations in Europe: An inevitable underclass?, Working Paper 3.7, NEUJOBS Research Project (European Commission)
A new book examined the purpose and effectiveness of minimum wages in different European countries. It highlighted important national differences in the functioning of minimum wage systems and their integration within national models of industrial relations.
Source: Damian Grimshaw, Minimum Wages, Pay Equity, and Comparative Industrial Relations, Routledge
A think-tank report presented an economic analysis of the 'living wage'. It looked at its potential impact on labour demand; the potential costs for employers; which workers and families benefited most; and the fiscal savings to government. It called for a series of 'living wage city deals', under which some of the dividend to the exchequer from cities paying a living wage in the public sector would be recycled back to the local area, to support small and medium size businesses in moving away from low pay.
Source: Matthew Pennycook and Kayte Lawton, Beyond the Bottom Line: The challenges and opportunities of a living wage, Resolution Foundation/Institute for Public Policy Research
A paper analyzed labour demand for low-skill/low-pay labour, in order to explore the potential employment trade-offs associated with moving to a 'living wage'. Cost increases would reduce employers' demand for young low-skilled employees in the private sector by approximately 300,000. The reduction in labour demand would be around 160,000, as employers substituted younger with more experienced workers.
Source: Rebecca Riley, Modelling Demand for Low Skilled/Low Paid Labour: Exploring the employment trade-offs of a living wage, Discussion Paper 404, National Institute for Economic and Social Research
Links: Discussion paper
A paper examined the impact of taxes and benefits on work incentives, using a lifecycle perspective. Individuals experienced considerable variability in work incentives their lives, outweighing the variability across individuals. Work incentives varied dramatically depending on family composition, and most women experienced a number of different family types during the course of their lives.
Source: Mike Brewer, Monica Costas Dias, and Jonathan Shaw, How Taxes and Welfare Distort Work Incentives: Static lifecycle and dynamic perspectives, Working Paper 13/01, Institute for Fiscal Studies