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The Earned Income Tax Credit: Targeting the Poor but Crowding Out Wealth

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  • Froemel, M.
  • Gottlieb, C.

Abstract

In this paper, we quantify the effects of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from a macroeconomic perspective. We use an incomplete markets model to analyze jointly the labor supply and saving responses to changes in tax credit generosity and their aggregate and distributional implications. In line with existing literature, our results show that the EITC is an effective policy instrument to raise labor force participation and provide insurance to working poor households. However, we show that the EITC also disincentivizes private savings for a large part of the population, except for the poorest transfer recipients. Furthermore, since unskilled labor supply reacts more strongly than skilled workers’ labor supply, wages for low skilled workers fall relative to high skilled workers. Whilst reducing post-tax earnings inequality, the EITC contributes to both a higher skill premium and wealth inequality. Finally, our welfare analysis suggests that EITC expansions are welfare improving for the majority of the population, both ex ante and when accounting for transitional dynamics.

Suggested Citation

  • Froemel, M. & Gottlieb, C., 2016. "The Earned Income Tax Credit: Targeting the Poor but Crowding Out Wealth," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1651, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:1651
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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.
    2. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias & Costas Meghir & Jonathan Shaw, 2016. "Female Labor Supply, Human Capital, and Welfare Reform," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 84, pages 1705-1753, September.
    3. Bruce D. Meyer, 2002. "Labor Supply at the Extensive and Intensive Margins: The EITC, Welfare, and Hours Worked," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 373-379, May.
    4. Caroline Weber, 2016. "Does the Earned Income Tax Credit Reduce Saving by Low-Income Households?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 69(1), pages 41-76, March.
    5. Gouveia, Miguel & Strauss, Robert P., 1994. "Effective Federal Individual Tax Functions: An Exploratory Empirical Analysis," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 47(2), pages 317-339, June.
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    7. Gouveia, Miguel & Strauss, Robert P., 1994. "Effective Federal Individual Tax Functions: An Exploratory Empirical Analysis," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(2), pages 317-39, June.
    8. Krueger, Dirk & Ludwig, Alexander, 2013. "On the Optimal Provision of Social Insurance," MEA discussion paper series 201302, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
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    11. Saurabh Bhargava & Dayanand Manoli, 2015. "Psychological Frictions and the Incomplete Take-Up of Social Benefits: Evidence from an IRS Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(11), pages 3489-3529, November.
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The Earned Income Tax Credit: Targeting the Poor but Crowding Out Wealth
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2016-10-14 00:17:26

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