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

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

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    Article provided by National Tax Association in its journal National Tax Journal.

    Volume (Year): 53 (2000)
    Issue (Month): n. 4 (December)
    Pages: 1187-210

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    Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:53:y:2000:i:n._4:p:1187-210
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    1. Jonathan Gruber & Aaron Yelowitz, 1999. "Public Health Insurance and Private Savings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1249-1274, December.
    2. Nada Eissa & Hilary Williamson Hoynes, 1998. "The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Labor Supply of Married Couples," NBER Working Papers 6856, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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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