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

  • Jesse Rothstein

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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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/pol.2.1.177
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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-policy
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  1. Anderson, Patricia M. & Meyer, Bruce D., 1997. "The effects of firm specific taxes and government mandates with an application to the U.S. unemployment insurance program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 119-145, August.
  2. 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.
  3. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1992. "Workfare versus Welfare Incentive Arguments for Work Requirements in Poverty-Alleviation Programs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 249-61, March.
  4. 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.
  5. Kubik, Jeffrey D., 2004. "The incidence of personal income taxation: evidence from the tax reform act of 1986," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1567-1588, July.
  6. Guido W. Imbens & Donald B. Rubin & Bruce I. Sacerdote, 2001. "Estimating the Effect of Unearned Income on Labor Earnings, Savings, and Consumption: Evidence from a Survey of Lottery Players," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 778-794, September.
  7. 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.
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