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Is the EITC as Good as an NIT? Conditional Cash Transfers and Tax Incidence

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  • Jesse Rothstein

Abstract

The EITC is intended to encourage work. But EITC-induced increases in labor supply may drive wages down. I simulate the economic incidence of the EITC. In each scenario that I consider, a large portion of low-income single mothers' EITC payments is captured by employers through reduced wages. Workers who are EITC ineligible also see wage declines. By contrast, a traditional Negative Income Tax (NIT) discourages work, and so induces large transfers from employers to their workers. With my preferred parameters, $1 in EITC spending increases after-tax incomes by $0.73, while $1 spent on the NIT yields $1.39. (JEL H22, H23, H24, H31, J22)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 177-208

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:2:y:2010:i:1:p:177-208

Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.2.1.177
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  1. Lise, Jeremy & Seitz, Shannon & Smith, Jeffrey A., 2003. "Equilibrium Policy Experiments and the Evaluation of Social Programs," IZA Discussion Papers 758, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Kopczuk, Wojciech & Pop-Eleches, Cristian, 2007. "Electronic filing, tax preparers and participation in the Earned Income Tax Credit," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(7-8), pages 1351-1367, August.
  3. Andrew Leigh, 2005. "Who Benefits from the Earned Income Tax Credit? Incidence Among Recipients, Coworkers and Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 494, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  4. Teulings, Coen N, 1995. "The Wage Distribution in a Model of the Assignment of Skills to Jobs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 280-315, April.
  5. Bingley, Paul & Lanot, Gauthier, 2002. "The incidence of income tax on wages and labour supply," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 173-194, February.
  6. Daniel Feenberg & Elisabeth Coutts, 1993. "An introduction to the TAXSIM model," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 189-194.
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