Financial incentives to work in the context of a complex reform package and growing wages: the Polish experience 2005-2011

We examine the consequences of a tax and benefit reform package on work incentives as implied by changes in tax and replacement rates. For this purpose we focus on policy reforms implemented in Poland between 2005 and 2011 which included a number of significant changes in the tax and benefit system. While marginal and participation tax rates in the majority of analyzed cases fall as a result of the reforms, the conclusions from looking at replacement rates for the population eligible for means tested benefits are generally different. These suggest that despite significant tax giveaways incentives on the labor market weakened as a result of the reform package for families with children and for those eligible to safety net benefits. For the majority of analyzed scenarios work incentives improved over the years despite the negative effect of the reforms only due to significant real wage growth. For a significant number of analyzed cases we find conflicting conclusions on the effect of reforms on financial incentives to work using the PTRs and RRs. Given the different nature of these measures this is not necessarily surprising, but serves as a note of caution on the use of each of them independently, in particular with reference to complex reform packages.