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Optimal Design of Earned Income Tax Credits: Evidence from a British Natural Experiment

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  • Andrew Leigh

Abstract

With many countries considering the adoption of a system of earned income tax credits, it is useful to analyze how different types of credits affect labor supply and earnings. This paper focuses on a 1999 reform to the UK tax credit system, which increased the value of the credit and reduced the phase-out rate. Using panel data, with individual fixed effects, I compare eligibles and ineligibles within five groups: all individuals; those whose demographic characteristics predict that they will have low earnings; single women; women in couples; and men in couples. Over a 15-month period, boosting the credit appears to have raised the labor participation rates, hours, and earnings of those who were eligible to receive it.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Leigh, 2005. "Optimal Design of Earned Income Tax Credits: Evidence from a British Natural Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 488, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:488
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    File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/cepr/DP488.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 2001. "Welfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 1063-1114.
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    3. Nada Eissa & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1996. "Labor Supply Response to the Earned Income Tax Credit," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 605-637.
    4. Eissa, Nada & Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 2004. "Taxes and the labor market participation of married couples: the earned income tax credit," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1931-1958, August.
    5. Leigh Andrew, 2010. "Who Benefits from the Earned Income Tax Credit? Incidence among Recipients, Coworkers and Firms," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-43, May.
    6. Michalopoulos, Charles & Robins, Philip K. & Card, David, 2005. "When financial work incentives pay for themselves: evidence from a randomized social experiment for welfare recipients," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 5-29, January.
    7. Ellwood, David T., 2000. "The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Social Policy Reforms on Work, Marriage, and Living Arrangements," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1063-1106, December.
    8. Ian Walker & Gillian Paull & Yu Zhu, 2000. "Child support reform: some analysis of the 1999 White Paper," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 105-140, March.
    9. Stephen Machin & Joan Wilson, 2004. "Minimum wages in a low-wage labour market: Care homes in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages 102-109, March.
    10. Ellwood, David T., 2000. "The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Social Policy Reforms on Work, Marriage, and Living Arrangements," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(4), pages 1063-1106, December.
    11. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 2001. "Using the EITC to Help Poor Families: New Evidence and a Comparison With the Minimum Wage," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(2), pages 281-318, June.
    12. Brewer, Mike & Duncan, Alan & Shephard, Andrew & Suarez, Maria Jose, 2006. "Did working families' tax credit work? The impact of in-work support on labour supply in Great Britain," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 699-720, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Azmat, Ghazala Yasmeen, 2006. "The incidence of an earned income tax credit: evaluating the impact on wages in the UK," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19859, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Xiaodong Gong & Robert Breunig, 2014. "Channels of labour supply responses of lone parents to changed work incentives," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(4), pages 916-939.
    3. Nabil Annabi & Youssef Boudribila & Simon Harvey, 2013. "Labour supply and income distribution effects of the working income tax benefit: a general equilibrium microsimulation analysis," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 2(1), pages 1-33, December.
    4. Chiara Daniela Pronzato, 2015. "Fighting Lone Mothers’ Poverty Through In-Work Benefits: Methodological Issues and Policy Suggestions," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 61(1), pages 95-122.
    5. Chiara Daniela Pronzato, 2014. "Fighting Lone Mothers’ Poverty through In-Work Benefits. Methodological Issues and Policy Suggestions," CHILD Working Papers Series 23, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA.
    6. Pronzato, Chiara D., 2012. "Comparing Quasi-Experimental Designs and Structural Models for Policy Evaluation: The Case of a Reform of Lone Parental Welfare," IZA Discussion Papers 6803, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Olivier Bargain, 2012. "Decomposition analysis of distributive policies using behavioural simulations," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 19(5), pages 708-731, October.
    8. Tehmina S. Khan & John Norregaard, 2007. "Tax Policy; Recent Trends and Coming Challenges," IMF Working Papers 07/274, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Fanny Moffette & Dorothée Boccanfuso & Patrick Richard & Luc Savard, 2013. "Estimating the Impact of the Québec’s Work Incentive Program on Labour Supply: An Ex Post Microsimulation Analysis," Cahiers de recherche 13-01, Departement d'Economique de l'École de gestion à l'Université de Sherbrooke.
    10. Leon Bettendorf & Kees Folmer & Egbert Jongen, 2013. "The dog that did not bark: The EITC for single mothers in the Netherlands," CPB Discussion Paper 229, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    working families’ tax credit; earned income tax credit; wage subsidies; labor supply; earnings; self-reported health status;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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