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Using The EITC to Help Poor Families: New Evidence and a Comparison with the Minimum Wage

  • Neumark, David
  • Wascher, William

This paper evaluates the effects of the earned income tax credit (EITC) on poor families’ earnings. Exploiting state-level variation in EITCs, we find that the EITC helps families rise above poverty-level earnings, primarily by inducing labor market entry in families that initially do not have an adult worker. Evidence based on the federal EITC is less supportive of a positive impact of the EITC. Finally, based on the state-level EITC results, our findings suggest that for the range of policy changes typical of recent history in the U.S., the EITC is more beneficial for poor families than is the minimum wage.

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

Volume (Year): 54 (2001)
Issue (Month): n. 2 (June)
Pages: 281-318

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Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:54:y:2001:i:n._2:p:281-318
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  1. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1999. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," JCPR Working Papers 152, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  2. David Neumark & William Wascher, 2002. "Do Minimum Wages Fight Poverty?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(3), pages 315-333, July.
  3. R. V. Burkhauser & K. A. Couch & A. J. Glenn, . "Public policies for the working poor: The earned income tax credit versus minimum wage legislation," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1074-95, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  4. 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.
  5. Rebecca M. Blank, David Card and Philip K. Robins, 1999. "Financial Incentives for Increasing Work and Income Among Low-Income Families," Economics Working Papers E99-264, University of California at Berkeley.
  6. David Neumark & Mark Schweitzer & William Wascher, 2004. "The effects of minimum wages on the distribution of family incomes: a nonparametric analysis," Working Paper 0412, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  7. Lisa Barrow & Leslie Moscow McGranahan, 2000. "The Earned Income Credit and Durable Goods Purchases," JCPR Working Papers 144, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  8. 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, March.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. V. Joseph Hotz & John Karl Scholz, 2001. "The Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Working Papers 8078, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
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