IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cdl/econwp/qt1024b9z8.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Labor Supply of Married Couples

Author

Listed:
  • Eissa, Nada
  • Hoynes, Hilary Williamson

Abstract

Over 18 million taxpayers are projected to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) in tax year 1997, at a total cost to the federal government of about 25 billion dollars. The EITC is refundable, so that any amount of the credit exceeding the family's tax liability is returned in the form of a cash refund. Advocates of the credit argue that this redistribution occurs with much less distortion to labor supply than that caused by other elements of the welfare system. This popular view that the credit is unlikely to hold among married couples. Theory suggests that primary earners (typically men) would increase labor force participation, but secondary earners would reduce their labor supply in response to an EITC. We study the labor supply response of married couples to several EITC expansions between 1984 and 1996. While our primary interest is the response to changes in the budget set induced by the EITC, our estimation strategy takes account of budget set changes caused by federal tax policy, and by cross-sectional variation in wages, income, and family size. We use both quasi-experimental and reduced form labor supply models to estimate the impact of EITC induced tax changes. The results suggest that EITC expansions between 1984 and 1996 increased married men's labor force participation only slightly but reduced married women's labor force participation by over a full percentage point. Overall, the evidence suggests that family labor supply and pre-tax family earnings fell among married couples. Our results imply that the EITC is effectively subsidizing married mothers to stay at home, and therefore have implications for the design of the program.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Eissa, Nada & Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 1999. "The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Labor Supply of Married Couples," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt1024b9z8, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:econwp:qt1024b9z8
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/1024b9z8.pdf;origin=repeccitec
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
    2. Holtzblatt, Janet & McCubbin, Janet & Gillette, Robert, 1994. "Promoting Work Through the EITC," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(3), pages 591-607, September.
    3. 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.
    4. Browning, Edgar K., 1995. "Effects of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Income and Welfare," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(1), pages 23-43, March.
    5. Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 1996. "Welfare Transfers in Two-Parent Families: Labor Supply and Welfare Participation under AFDC-UP," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(2), pages 295-332, March.
    6. 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.
    7. Dickert-Conlin, Stacy & Houser, Scott, 1998. "Taxes and Transfers: A New Look at the Marriage Penalty," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 2), pages 175-217, June.
    8. Richard Blundell & Alan Duncan & Costas Meghir, 1998. "Estimating Labor Supply Responses Using Tax Reforms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(4), pages 827-862, July.
    9. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-475, March.
    10. V. Joseph Hotz, 2003. "The Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 141-198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Martin Feldstein, 1983. "Behavioral Simulation Methods in Tax Policy Analysis," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feld83-2, May.
    12. Mroz, Thomas A, 1987. "The Sensitivity of an Empirical Model of Married Women's Hours of Work to Economic and Statistical Assumptions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(4), pages 765-799, July.
    13. Robert K. Triest, 1990. "The Effect of Income Taxation on Labor Supply in the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 491-516.
    14. Holtzblatt, Janet & McCubbin, Janet & Gillette, Robert, 1994. "Promoting Work Through the EITC," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 47(3), pages 591-607, September.
    15. Thomas MaCurdy & David Green & Harry Paarsch, 1990. "Assessing Empirical Approaches for Analyzing Taxes and Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(3), pages 415-490.
    16. Blomquist, Soren, 1996. "Estimation methods for male labor supply functions How to take account of nonlinear taxes," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 383-405, February.
    17. 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.
    18. Barry Bosworth & Gary Burtless, 1992. "Effects of Tax Reform on Labor Supply, Investment, and Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 3-25, Winter.
    19. Dickert-Conlin, Stacy & Houser, Scott, 1998. "Taxes and Transfers: A New Look at the Marriage Penalty," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 51(2), pages 175-217, June.
    20. 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, September.
    21. Browning, Edgar K., 1995. "Effects of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Income and Welfare," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 48(1), pages 23-43, March.
    22. Flood, Lennart & MaCurdy, Thomas, 1992. "Work disincentive effects of taxes: An empirical analysis of Swedish men," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 239-277, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Olivier Bargain & Kristian Orsini & Andreas Peichl, 2012. "Comparing Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the US: New Results," Working Papers halshs-00805736, HAL.
    2. Eissa, Nada & Kleven, Henrik Jacobsen & Kreiner, Claus Thustrup, 2008. "Evaluation of four tax reforms in the United States: Labor supply and welfare effects for single mothers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 795-816, April.
    3. Olivier Bargain & Kristian Orsini & Andreas Peichl, 2014. "Comparing Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the United States: New Results," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(3), pages 723-838.
    4. Olivier Bargain & Kristian Orsini & Andreas Peichl, 2014. "Comparing Labor Supply Elasticities in Europe and the United States: New Results," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(3), pages 723-838.
    5. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695, Elsevier.
    6. Nada Eissa & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2006. "Behavioral Responses to Taxes: Lessons from the EITC and Labor Supply," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 20, pages 73-110, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Stacy Dickert-Conlin & Douglas Holtz-Eakin, 1999. "Employee-Based versus Employer-Based Subsidies to Low-Wage Workers: A Public Finance Perspective," JCPR Working Papers 79, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    8. Olivier Bargain & Andreas Peichl, 2016. "Own-wage labor supply elasticities: variation across time and estimation methods," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-31, December.
    9. V. Joseph Hotz, 2003. "The Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 141-198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Nada Eissa & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2006. "Behavioral Responses to Taxes: Lessons from the EITC and Labor Supply," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 20, pages 73-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. 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.
    12. Herwig Immervoll & Henrik Jacobsen Kleven & Claus Thustrup Kreiner & Emmanuel Saez, 2007. "Welfare reform in European countries: a microsimulation analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(516), pages 1-44, January.
    13. Nuria Badenes Plá & Julio López Laborda, 2002. "Efectos sobre la renta disponible y el bienestar de la deducción en el IRPF por rentas ganadas," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 160(1), pages 103-120, march.
    14. Wolfgang Ochel, 2002. "Welfare to Work in the US: A Model for Germany?," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 59(1), pages 91-119, February.
    15. van Oers, H. & de Mooij, R.A. & Graafland, J.J. & Boone, J., 2000. "An earned income tax credit in the Netherlands : Simulations with the mimic model," Other publications TiSEM 09697d20-0f5c-4bc2-a625-6, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    16. Bargain, Olivier & Peichl, Andreas, 2013. "Steady-state labor supply elasticities: A survey," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-084, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    17. S. Dickert-Conlin & S. Houser, "undated". "EITC, AFDC, and the Female Headship Decision," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1192-99, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    18. Michiel Evers & Ruud de Mooij & Daniel van Vuuren, 2005. "What explains the variation in estimates of labour supply elasticities?," CPB Discussion Paper 51.rdf, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    19. Loeffler, Max & Peichl, Andreas & Pestel, Nico & Siegloch, Sebastian & Sommer, Eric, 2014. "Documentation IZA?MOD v3.0: The IZA Policy Simulation Model," IZA Discussion Papers 8553, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    20. James Alm & Stacy Dickert-Conlin & Leslie A. Whittington, 1999. "Policy Watch: The Marriage Penalty," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 193-204, Summer.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    labor supply; welfare; taxes; Business; Social and Behavioral Sciences;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:econwp:qt1024b9z8. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/ibbrkus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Lisa Schiff (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/ibbrkus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.