Advancing a Free Society

Minijobs, Milton Friedman, and an Overlooked Success Story

Thursday, October 6, 2011

One of several reasons why Germany has the lowest unemployment rate in Europe is the “minijob.” Long-term recipients of unemployment benefits and social assistance (Haartz IV recipients) can keep extra earning from “minijobs” up to 160 Euros per month. They can earn up to 400 Euros but their benefits are reduced for earnings above 160 Euros. This works something like Milton Friedman’s negative income tax. Persons with minijobs are counted as employed.

Notably, the German Federal Labor Agency reports that 93 percent of minijob holders earn 160 Euros. Who says the long-term unemployed cannot count?

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