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The Effects of EITC Payment Expansion on Maternal Smoking


  • Averett, Susan L.

    () (Lafayette College)

  • Wang, Yang

    () (University of Wisconsin-Madison)


The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is the largest anti-poverty program in the U.S. In 1993, the EITC benefit levels were changed significantly based on the number of children in the family such that families with two or more children experienced an exogenous expansion in their incomes. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 cohort, we employ a triple differences plus Fixed-Effects framework to examine the effect of this change on the probability of smoking among low-educated mothers. We find that the probability of smoking for white and Hispanic low-educated mothers of two or more children decreased statistically significantly relative to those with only one child, and the results are robust to various specification tests. These results provide new evidence on the protective effect of income on health through changes in health behaviors, and therefore have important policy implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Averett, Susan L. & Wang, Yang, 2012. "The Effects of EITC Payment Expansion on Maternal Smoking," IZA Discussion Papers 6680, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6680

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chaloupka, Frank J. & Wechsler, Henry, 1997. "Price, tobacco control policies and smoking among young adults," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 359-373, June.
    2. Cancian, Maria & Levinson, Arik, 2006. "Labor Supply Effects of the Earned Income Tax Credit: Evidence From Wisconsin's Supplemental Benefit for Families With Three Children," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 59(4), pages 781-800, December.
    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. DeCicca, Philip & Kenkel, Don & Mathios, Alan, 2008. "Cigarette taxes and the transition from youth to adult smoking: Smoking initiation, cessation, and participation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 904-917, July.
    5. Reagan Baughman & Stacy Dickert-Conlin, 2009. "The earned income tax credit and fertility," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(3), pages 537-563, July.
    6. Maximilian D. Schmeiser, 2009. "Expanding wallets and waistlines: the impact of family income on the BMI of women and men eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(11), pages 1277-1294.
    7. Mary Beth Walker & Erdal Tekin & Sally Wallace, 2009. "Teen Smoking and Birth Outcomes," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 892-907, January.
    8. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2005. "Welfare Reform and Health," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
    9. Wasserman, Jeffrey & Manning, Willard G. & Newhouse, Joseph P. & Winkler, John D., 1991. "The effects of excise taxes and regulations on cigarette smoking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 43-64, May.
    10. Cristina Yunzal-Butler & Theodore J. Joyce & Andrew D. Racine, 2009. "Maternal Smoking and the Timing of WIC Enrollment," NBER Working Papers 14728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item


    low-income mothers; smoking; EITC;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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