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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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  1. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1999. "Welfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers," NBER Working Papers 7363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David Albouy, 2009. "The Unequal Geographic Burden of Federal Taxation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(4), pages 635-667, 08.
  3. 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.
  4. Hilary Williamson Hoynes, 1996. "Local Labor Markets and Welfare Spells: Do Demand Conditions Matter?," NBER Working Papers 5643, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Hilary W. Hoynes & Nada Elissa, 2005. "Behavioral Responses to Taxes:Lessons from the EITC and Labor Supply," Working Papers 529, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  6. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number moff03-1, October.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Dan Black & Natalia Kolesnikova & Lowell J. Taylor, 2007. "Earnings functions when wages and prices vary by location," Working Papers 2007-031, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
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