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The EITC: Expectation, Knowledge, Use, and Economic and Social Mobility

Author

Listed:
  • Timothy M. Smeeding
  • Katherin Ross Phillips
  • Michael O'Connor

Abstract

This paper presents initial findings on the economic impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) based on a sample of Chicago area households that filed tax returns in the spring of 1998. Respondents reported on their detailed use of the funds to pay bills, purchase new items, or save. Asset information on the households was also gathered, along with questions regarding the ability of households to make particular expenditures without the help of the EITC. Uses of the EITC are divided into those that improve social mobility (e.g., purchase a car, pay tuition, change housing) and those that primarily help to make ends meet (e.g., pay routine bills, purchase food) and determinants of each are explored in a regression framework. The paper also explores the relationship among the financial system, asset and borrow status, and EITC usage. Implications for tax policy and social policy are drawn in conclusion. As far as we know, this is the first research to address these issues, despite the fact that, excluding programs for the elderly and Medicaid, the EITC is our largest federal entitlement program. This paper was revised April 2000.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy M. Smeeding & Katherin Ross Phillips & Michael O'Connor, 1999. "The EITC: Expectation, Knowledge, Use, and Economic and Social Mobility," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 13, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  • Handle: RePEc:max:cprwps:13
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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. 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.
    3. Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1998. "The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Incentives and Income Distribution," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 12, pages 83-120 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jonathan Gruber & Aaron Yelowitz, 1999. "Public Health Insurance and Private Savings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1249-1274, December.
    5. Scholz, John Karl, 1994. "The Earned Income Credit: Participation, Compliance, and Antipoverty Effectiveness," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(1), pages 63-87, March.
    6. N. Eissa & H. W. Hoynes, "undated". "The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Labor Supply of Married Couples," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1194-99, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    7. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-399, April.
    8. Rebecca M. Blank & David Card & Philip K. Robins, 1999. "Financial Incentives for Increasing Work and Income Among Low-Income Families," JCPR Working Papers 69, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    9. 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.
    10. Powers, Elizabeth T., 1998. "Does means-testing welfare discourage saving? evidence from a change in AFDC policy in the United States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 33-53, April.
    11. 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.
    12. Rebecca M. Blank & Patricia Ruggles, 1993. "When Do Women Use AFDC & Food Stamps? The Dynamics of Eligibility vs. Participation," NBER Working Papers 4429, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. repec:cdl:econwp:2050951 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. J. K. Scholz, "undated". "The earned income tax credit: Participation, compliance, and antipoverty effectiveness," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1020-93, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    15. Neumark, David & Powers, Elizabeth, 1998. "The effect of means-tested income support for the elderly on pre-retirement saving: evidence from the SSI program in the U.S," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 181-206, May.
    16. Scholz, John Karl, 1994. "The Earned Income Credit: Participation, Compliance, and Antipoverty Effectiveness," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(1), pages 63-87, March.
    17. Edward J. Bird & Paul A. Hagstrom & Robert Wild & Janet A. Weiss, 1999. "Credit card debts of the poor: High and rising," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 125-133.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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