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The Interaction of Metropolitan Cost-of-living & the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit: One Size Fits All?

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  • Katie Fitzpatrick
  • Jeffrey Thompson

Abstract

This paper explores the interaction between the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the cost-of-living faced by single mothers. After the 1993 EITC expansion, we identify up to a 10 percentage point increase in labor force participation for single mothers in the lowest cost areas but no discernable response in the highest cost areas. We conclude that the EITC’s welfare-enhancing properties are undermined by the interaction of the program’s fixed national rules and geographic variation in wages and cost-of-living. In addition, our findings suggest that the EITC does little to reduce joblessness in many of the nation’s largest cities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst in its series Working Papers with number wp204.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:uma:periwp:wp204

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Keywords: EITC; Cost-of-Living; Tax reform; Labor supply;

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References

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  1. Dan Black & Natalia Kolesnikova & Lowell Taylor, 2009. "Earnings Functions When Wages and Prices Vary by Location," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 21-47, 01.
  2. Scholz, John Karl, 1996. "In-Work Benefits in the United States: The Earned Income Tax Credit," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(434), pages 156-69, January.
  3. Stacy Dickert & Scott Houser & John Karl Scholz, 1995. "The Earned Income Tax Credit and Transfer Programs: A Study of Labor Market and Program Participation," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 9, pages 1-50 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Nada Eissa & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1995. "Labor Supply Response to the Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Working Papers 5158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 2001. "Welfare, The Earned Income Tax Credit, And The Labor Supply Of Single Mothers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 1063-1114, August.
  7. Roback, Jennifer, 1988. "Wages, Rents, and Amenities: Differences among Workers and Regions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(1), pages 23-41, January.
  8. Nada Eissa & Hilary Hoynes, 2005. "Behavioral Responses to Taxes: Lessons from the EITC and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 11729, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Chen, Yong & Rosenthal, Stuart S., 2008. "Local amenities and life-cycle migration: Do people move for jobs or fun?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 519-537, November.
  10. David Y. Albouy, 2008. "The Unequal Geographic Burden of Federal Taxation," NBER Working Papers 13995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number moff03-1, July.
  12. Bruce D. Meyer, 2002. "Labor Supply at the Extensive and Intensive Margins: The EITC, Welfare, and Hours Worked," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 373-379, May.
  13. Hilary Williamson Hoynes, 1996. "Local Labor Markets and Welfare Spells: Do Demand Conditions Matter?," NBER Working Papers 5643, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Edward C. Norton & Hua Wang & Chunrong Ai, 2004. "Computing interaction effects and standard errors in logit and probit models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(2), pages 154-167, June.
  15. Eissa, Nada & Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup, 2008. "Evaluation of four tax reforms in the United States: Labor supply and welfare effects for single mothers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 795-816, April.
  16. Saul D. Hoffman & Laurence S. Seidman, 1990. "The Earned Income Tax Credit," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number eitc.
  17. V. Joseph Hotz & John Karl Scholz, 2006. "Examining the Effect of the Earned Income Tax Credit on the Labor Market Participation of Families on Welfare," NBER Working Papers 11968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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