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The EITC: Expectation, Knowledge, Use, and Economic and Social Mobility

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  • Smeeding, Timothy M.
  • Phillips, Katherin Ross
  • O’Connor, Michael

Abstract

This paper presents our findings on the knowledge and use of the 1997 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) based on a sample of Chicago area households, with children, that filed tax returns in the winter and spring of 1998. Respondents reported in detail about using their federal tax refunds (including the EITC) to pay bills, purchase new items, or save. Data were also gathered on respondents’ prior knowledge of the EITC and their ability to make particular expenditures without the help of the EITC. Uses of the EITC are divided into those that improve economic and social mobility (e.g., purchase a car, pay tuition, change residence) and those that primarily help to make ends meet (e.g., pay routine bills, purchase food). This is among the first papers to address these issues, despite the fact that the EITC is our largest refundable tax credit program targeted at low-income families.

Suggested Citation

  • Smeeding, Timothy M. & Phillips, Katherin Ross & O’Connor, Michael, 2000. "The EITC: Expectation, Knowledge, Use, and Economic and Social Mobility," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(4), pages 1187-1210, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:53:y:2000:i:4:p:1187-210
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. N. Eissa & H. W. Hoynes, "undated". "The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Labor Supply of Married Couples," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1194-99, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    2. Edward J. Bird & Paul A. Hagstrom & Robert Wild & Janet A. Weiss, 1999. "Credit card debts of the poor: High and rising," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 125-133.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicole Simpson & Devin Reilly & Kartik Athreya, 2010. "The Earned Income Tax Credit: Insurance Without Disincentives?," 2010 Meeting Papers 1103, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Mills, Gregory & Gale, William G. & Patterson, Rhiannon & Engelhardt, Gary V. & Eriksen, Michael D. & Apostolov, Emil, 2008. "Effects of individual development accounts on asset purchases and saving behavior: Evidence from a controlled experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 1509-1530.
    3. 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.
    4. Congdon, William J. & Kling, Jeffrey R. & Mullainathan, Sendhil, 2009. "Behavioral Economics and Tax Policy," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, pages 375-386.
    5. Muennig, Peter & Franks, Peter & Jia, Haomiao & Lubetkin, Erica & Gold, Marthe R, 2005. "The income-associated burden of disease in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, pages 2018-2026.
    6. Carol Osler & Thang Nguyen & Tanseli Savaser, 2011. "Asymmetric Information and the Foreign-Exchange Trades of Global Custody Banks," Department of Economics Working Papers 2011-09, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    7. 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.
    8. Berger, Lawrence M. & Collins, J. Michael & Smeeding, Timothy M., 2015. "Exiting or retaining owner-occupied housing in the United States 1999–2009: How do social programs matter?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 112-126.
    9. Mike Brewer, 2000. "Comparing in-work benefits and financial work incentives for low-income families in the US and the UK," IFS Working Papers W00/16, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    10. Brady-Smith, Christy & Brooks-Gunn, Jeanne & Waldfogel, Jane & Fauth, Rebecca, 2001. "Work or welfare? Assessing the impacts of recent employment and policy changes on very young children," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, pages 409-425.
    11. Kyoung Tae Kim & Melissa J. Wilmarth, 2016. "Government Subsidies and Household Debt Burden After the Great Recession," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 349-358, September.
    12. Manturuk, Kim & Dorrance, Jessica & Riley, Sarah, 2012. "Factors affecting completion of a matched savings program: Impacts of time preference, discount rate, and financial hardship," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 836-842.
    13. Dayanand S. Manoli & Nicholas Turner, 2014. "Nudges and Learning: Evidence from Informational Interventions for Low-Income Taxpayers," NBER Working Papers 20718, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Tiefenthaler, Jill & Simpson, Nicole & Hyde, Jameson, 2008. "The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Economic Well-being: A Comparison across Household Types," Working Papers 2008-02, Department of Economics, Colgate University.
    15. Hirasuna, Donald P. & Stinson, Thomas F., 2004. "Urban And Rural Differences In Utilization Of State Earned Income Tax Credit Programs: Minnesota'S Experience," Working Papers 18912, Oregon State University, Rural Poverty Research Center (RPRC).
    16. H. Shaefer & Xiaoqing Song & Trina Williams Shanks, 2013. "Do single mothers in the United States use the Earned Income Tax Credit to reduce unsecured debt?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 659-680, December.
    17. Nicole Simpson & Jill Tiefenthaler & Jameson Hyde, 2010. "The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Economic Well-Being: A Comparison Across Household Types," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), pages 843-864.

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