IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aecrev/v102y2012i5p1927-56.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit*

* This paper has been replicated

Author

Listed:
  • Gordon B. Dahl
  • Lance Lochner

Abstract

Using an instrumental variables strategy, we estimate the causal effect of income on children's math and reading achievement. Our identification derives from the large, nonlinear changes in the Earned Income Tax Credit. The largest of these changes increased family income by as much as 20 percent, or approximately $2,100, between 1993 and 1997. Our baseline estimates imply that a $1,000 increase in income raises combined math and reading test scores by 6 percent of a standard deviation in the short run. Test gains are larger for children from disadvantaged families and robust to a variety of alternative specifications. (JEL H24, H31, I21, I38, J13)

Suggested Citation

  • Gordon B. Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2012. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 1927-1956, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:5:p:1927-56
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.102.5.1927
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/aug2012/20050400_data.zip
    File Function: dataset accompanying article
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Barrow, Lisa & McGranahan, Leslie, 2000. "The Effects of the Earned Income Credit on the Seasonality of Household Expenditures," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 53(4), pages 1211-1244, December.
    2. James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 1998. "Instrumental Variables Methods for the Correlated Random Coefficient Model: Estimating the Average Rate of Return to Schooling When the Return is Correlated with Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(4), pages 974-987.
    3. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Costas Meghir, 1998. "Estimating Labor Supply Responses Using Tax Reforms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 827-862, July.
    4. Jesse Rothstein, 2010. "Teacher Quality in Educational Production: Tracking, Decay, and Student Achievement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 125(1), pages 175-214.
    5. Gordon B. Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2012. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 1927-1956, August.
    6. Gruber, Jon & Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The elasticity of taxable income: evidence and implications," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-32, April.
    7. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman, 2002. "The Evidence on Credit Constraints in Post--secondary Schooling," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 705-734, October.
    8. Petra E. Todd & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 2007. "The Production of Cognitive Achievement in Children: Home, School, and Racial Test Score Gaps," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 91-136.
    9. Martin Feldstein, 1995. "Behavioral Responses to Tax Rates: Evidence from TRA86," NBER Working Papers 5000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Jennifer Ward-Batts, 2008. "Out of the Wallet and into the Purse: Using Micro Data to Test Income Pooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(2), pages 325-351.
    11. J. R. Lockwood & Daniel F. McCaffrey & Louis T. Mariano & Claude Setodji, 2007. "Bayesian Methods for Scalable Multivariate Value-Added Assessment," Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, , vol. 32(2), pages 125-150, June.
    12. Philip Oreopoulos & Marianne E. Page, 2006. "The Intergenerational Effects of Compulsory Schooling," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(4), pages 729-760, October.
    13. 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.
    14. Katrine V. Løken & Magne Mogstad & Matthew Wiswall, 2012. "What Linear Estimators Miss: The Effects of Family Income on Child Outcomes," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 1-35, April.
    15. Currie, Janet & Gruber, Jonathan, 1996. "Saving Babies: The Efficacy and Cost of Recent Changes in the Medicaid Eligibility of Pregnant Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1263-1296, December.
    16. Mogstad, Magne & Wiswall, Matthew, 2009. "How Much Should We Trust Linear Instrumental Variables Estimators? An Application to Family Size and Children's Education," IZA Discussion Papers 4562, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2005. "Why the Apple Doesn't Fall Far: Understanding Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 437-449, March.
    18. Eric A. Hanushek & Margaret E. Raymond, 2005. "Does school accountability lead to improved student performance?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(2), pages 297-327.
    19. repec:pri:edures:25ers.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Løken, Katrine V., 2010. "Family income and children's education: Using the Norwegian oil boom as a natural experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 118-129, January.
    21. Andrew Goodman-Bacon & Leslie McGranahan, 2008. "How do EITC recipients spend their refunds?," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, vol. 32(Q II), pages 17-32.
    22. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren & David Sims, 2008. "The Persistence of Teacher-Induced Learning Gains," NBER Working Papers 14065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Shelly J. Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak & Terence J. Wales, 1997. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from the United Kingdom Child Benefit," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(3), pages 463-480.
    24. Feldstein, Martin, 1995. "Behavioral Responses to Tax Rates: Evidence from the Tax Reform Act of 1986," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 170-174, May.
    25. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 1997. "On two stage least squares estimation of the average treatment effect in a random coefficient model," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 129-133, October.
    26. Orazio Attanasio & Valerie Lechene, 2002. "Tests of Income Pooling in Household Decisions," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 720-748, October.
    27. Heckman, James J. & Robb, Richard Jr., 1985. "Alternative methods for evaluating the impact of interventions : An overview," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 239-267.
    28. William N. Evans & Craig L. Garthwaite, 2014. "Giving Mom a Break: The Impact of Higher EITC Payments on Maternal Health," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 258-290, May.
    29. V. Joseph Hotz, 2003. "The Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 141-198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    30. Nada Eissa & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2006. "Behavioral Responses to Taxes: Lessons from the EITC and Labor Supply," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 20, pages 73-110, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    31. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-475, March.
    32. Kevin Milligan & Mark Stabile, 2011. "Do Child Tax Benefits Affect the Well-Being of Children? Evidence from Canadian Child Benefit Expansions," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 175-205, August.
    33. Barrow, Lisa & McGranahan, Leslie, 2000. "The Effects of the Earned Income Credit on the Seasonality of Household Expenditures," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1211-44, December.
    34. Gordon B. Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2005. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement," NBER Working Papers 11279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    35. Amalia R. Miller & Lei Zhang, 2009. "The effects of welfare reform on the academic performance of children in low-income households," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(4), pages 577-599.
    36. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number moff03-1, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. David Neumark & Katherine E. Williams, 2020. "Do State Earned Income Tax Credits Increase Participation in the Federal EITC?," Public Finance Review, , vol. 48(5), pages 579-626, September.
    2. William N. Evans & Craig L. Garthwaite, 2014. "Giving Mom a Break: The Impact of Higher EITC Payments on Maternal Health," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 258-290, May.
    3. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Lance Lochner, 2020. "Early and Late Human Capital Investments, Borrowing Constraints, and the Family," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(3), pages 1065-1147.
    4. Boyd-Swan, Casey & Herbst, Chris M. & Ifcher, John & Zarghamee, Homa, 2016. "The earned income tax credit, mental health, and happiness," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 126(PA), pages 18-38.
    5. Otto Lenhart, 2019. "The effects of income on health: new evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 377-410, June.
    6. Elizabeth M. Caucutt & Lance Lochner & Youngmin Park, 2017. "Correlation, Consumption, Confusion, or Constraints: Why Do Poor Children Perform so Poorly?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 119(1), pages 102-147, January.
    7. Xu, Hui & Zhang, Zheyuan & Zhao, Zhong, 2023. "Parental socioeconomic status and children’s cognitive ability in China," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    8. Lauren E. Jones & Kevin Milligan & Mark Stabile, 2019. "Child cash benefits and family expenditures: Evidence from the National Child Benefit," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 52(4), pages 1433-1463, November.
    9. Averett, Susan L. & Wang, Yang, 2015. "The Effects of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Children's Health, Quality of Home Environment, and Non-Cognitive Skills," IZA Discussion Papers 9173, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. repec:esx:essedp:726 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Han, Li & Kung, James Kai-Sing, 2015. "Fiscal incentives and policy choices of local governments: Evidence from China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 89-104.
    12. Samuel Lundstrom, 2017. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(2), pages 623-628, February.
    13. Kumar, Anil & Liang, Che-Yuan, 2020. "Estimating taxable income responses with elasticity heterogeneity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 188(C).
    14. Naoi, Michio & Akabayashi, Hideo & Nakamura, Ryosuke & Nozaki, Kayo & Sano, Shinpei & Senoh, Wataru & Shikishima, Chizuru, 2021. "Causal effects of family income on educational investment and child outcomes: Evidence from a policy reform in Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).
    15. Hema Shah & Lisa A. Gennetian, 2024. "Unconditional cash transfers for families with children in the U.S.: a scoping review," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 22(2), pages 415-450, June.
    16. Lance Lochner & Alexander Monge-Naranjo, 2012. "Credit Constraints in Education," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 225-256, July.
    17. Mogstad, Magne & Wiswall, Matthew, 2009. "How Much Should We Trust Linear Instrumental Variables Estimators? An Application to Family Size and Children's Education," IZA Discussion Papers 4562, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    18. Hilary Hoynes & Doug Miller & David Simon, 2015. "Income, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and Infant Health," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 172-211, February.
    19. Francesco Agostinelli & Giuseppe Sorrenti, 2018. "Money vs. Time: Family Income, Maternal Labor Supply, and Child Development," Working Papers 2018-017, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    20. Katrine V. Løken & Magne Mogstad & Matthew Wiswall, 2012. "What Linear Estimators Miss: The Effects of Family Income on Child Outcomes," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 1-35, April.
    21. Jonathan Fisher & David H. Rehkopf, 2022. "The Earned Income Tax Credit as supplementary food benefits and savings for durable goods," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(3), pages 439-455, July.

    Replication

    This item has been replicated by:
  • Samuel Lundstrom, 2017. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(2), pages 623-628, February.
  • More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty

    Lists

    This item is featured on the following reading lists, Wikipedia, or ReplicationWiki pages:
    1. The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit (AER 2012) in ReplicationWiki

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:5:p:1927-56. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.