The paper evaluates the distributional effects on earnings and income of requiring young welfare recipients to fulfill conditions related to work and activation. It exploits withinsocial insurance office variation in policy arising from a geographically staggered reform in Norway. The reform reduced welfare uptake and for women had large, positive effects in the lower part of the earnings distribution. The effect on the distribution of total income is also positive, thus gains in earnings more than offset reduced welfare benefits. Fewer welfare payments and smaller caseloads make the policy highly cost-effective.
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