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Investable Tax Credits: The Case of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit

  • Desai, Mihir

    (Harvard U)

  • Dharmapala, Dhammika

    (U of Connecticut)

  • Singhal, Monica

    (Harvard U)

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) represents a novel tax expenditure program that employs “investable” tax credits to spur production of low-income rental housing. While it has grown into the largest source of new affordable housing in the U.S. and its structure is now being replicated in other programs, the LIHTC has also drawn skepticism and calls for its repeal. This paper outlines a conceptual framework for exploring the conditions under which investable tax credits may be the most effective mechanism to deliver a production subsidy and discusses the desirability of employing investable tax credits in other policy domains. Estimates of tax expenditures under this program are provided and efficiency costs, distributional issues, and the likely effects of reforms to tax provisions such as the AMT are considered.

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Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp08-035.

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Date of creation: Jun 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp08-035
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  1. Stephen Gibbons & Alan Manning, 2003. "The incidence of UK housing benefit: evidence from the 1990s reforms," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20011, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Malpezzi, Stephen & Vandell, Kerry, 2002. "Does the low-income housing tax credit increase the supply of housing?," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 360-380, December.
  3. Sinai, Todd & Waldfogel, Joel, 2005. "Do low-income housing subsidies increase the occupied housing stock?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2137-2164, December.
  4. Nathaniel Baum-Snow & Justin Marion, 2007. "The Effects of Low Income Housing Developments on Neighborhoods," Working Papers 2007-5, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  5. Eriksen, Michael D., 2009. "The market price of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2), pages 141-149, September.
  6. Coate, Stephen & Johnson, Stephen & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1994. "Pecuniary redistribution through in-kind programs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 19-40, September.
  7. Dharmapala, Dhammika, 1999. "Comparing tax expenditures and direct subsidies: the role of legislative committee structure," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 421-454, June.
  8. Steve Gibbons & Alan Manning, 2003. "The Incidence of UK Housing Benefit: Evidence from the 1990s Reforms," CEP Discussion Papers dp0597, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  9. Susin, Scott, 2002. "Rent vouchers and the price of low-income housing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 109-152, January.
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