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Do In-Work Tax Credits Serve as a Safety Net?

Author

Listed:
  • Marianne Bitler
  • Hilary Hoynes
  • Elira Kuka

Abstract

We test the EITC’s response to economic need. Using IRS data we exploit differences in timing and severity of economic cycles across states. Because the EITC requires earned income, there is a theoretical ambiguity in the credit’s cyclicality. We find higher unemployment leads to increased likelihood of EITC recipiency and in credit amounts received for married couples but has insignificant effects for single individuals. The EITC’s protective effects are concentrated among skilled workers. The EITC mitigates income shocks for married couples with children and groups likely to have moderate earnings, but does not for most recipients: single parents with children.

Suggested Citation

  • Marianne Bitler & Hilary Hoynes & Elira Kuka, 2017. "Do In-Work Tax Credits Serve as a Safety Net?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 52(2), pages 319-350.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:52:y:2017:i:2:p:319-350
    Note: DOI: 10.3368/jhr.52.2.0614-6433R1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rajeev Dehejia & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2004. "Booms, Busts, and Babies' Health," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 1091-1130.
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    4. 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.
    5. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Emmanuel Saez, 2013. "Using Differences in Knowledge across Neighborhoods to Uncover the Impacts of the EITC on Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(7), pages 2683-2721, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kory Kroft & Kucko Kavan & Etienne Lehmann & Johannes Schmieder, 2015. "Optimal Income Taxation with Unemployment and Wage Responses: A Sufficient Statistics Approach," Working Papers hal-01292126, HAL.
    2. repec:eee:socmed:v:194:y:2017:i:c:p:67-75 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. David Splinter & Jeff Larrimore & Jacob Mortenson, 2017. "Whose Child Is This? Shifting of Dependents among EITC Claimants within the Same Household," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 70(4), pages 737-758, December.
    4. repec:eee:labeco:v:55:y:2018:i:c:p:98-115 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Lisa Gennetian & Sharon Wolf & Heather Hill & Pamela Morris, 2015. "Intrayear Household Income Dynamics and Adolescent School Behavior," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(2), pages 455-483, April.
    6. repec:spr:demogr:v:55:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0642-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Marianne Bitler & Hilary Hoynes, 2016. "The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same? The Safety Net and Poverty in the Great Recession," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(S1), pages 403-444.
    8. Melanie Guldi & Lucie Schmidt, 2017. "Taxes, Transfers, and Women’s Labor Supply in the United States," Working Papers 2017-01, University of Central Florida, Department of Economics.
    9. Hilary Hoynes & Jesse Rothstein, 2016. "Tax Policy Toward Low-Income Families," NBER Working Papers 22080, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Jeff Larrimore & Jacob Mortenson & David Splinter, 2017. "Household Incomes in Tax Data : Using Addresses to Move from Tax Unit to Household Income Distributions," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-002, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US).
    11. Maggie R. Jones, 2014. "The EITC over the business cycle: Who benefits?," CARRA Working Papers 2014-15, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    12. Markowitz, Sara & Komro, Kelli A. & Livingston, Melvin D. & Lenhart, Otto & Wagenaar, Alexander C., 2017. "Effects of state-level Earned Income Tax Credit laws in the U.S. on maternal health behaviors and infant health outcomes," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 194(C), pages 67-75.
    13. Korenman, Sanders D. & Remler, Dahlia K., 2016. "Including health insurance in poverty measurement: The impact of Massachusetts health reform on poverty," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 27-35.
    14. repec:bin:bpeajo:v:49:y:2018:i:2018-01:p:89-150 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. David Neumark, 2016. "Policy levers to increase jobs and increase income from work after the Great Recession," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-38, December.
    16. Maggie R. Jones, 2016. "A Loan by any Other Name: How State Policies Changed Advanced Tax Refund Payments," CARRA Working Papers 2016-04, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    17. Bruce D. Meyer & Derek Wu, 2018. "The Poverty Reduction of Social Security and Means-Tested Transfers," NBER Working Papers 24567, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Maggie R. Jones, 2017. "Tax Preparers, Refund Anticipation Products, and EITC Noncompliance," CARRA Working Papers 2017-10, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    19. Brittany English & Diane Paulsell, "undated". "Income Supports and Work Requirement Policies: An Equity-Focused Policy Research Agenda," Mathematica Policy Research Reports b1c29c0e4a9944b8a9a15f830, Mathematica Policy Research.
    20. Larrimore, Jeff & Mortenson, Jacob & Splinter, David, 2015. "Income and Earnings Mobility in U.S. Tax Data," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-61, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US).
    21. Hilary W. Hoynes & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2018. "Safety Nets Investments in Children," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 49(1 (Spring), pages 89-150.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty

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