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Redistribution and Tax Expenditures: The Earned Income Tax Credit

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  • Nada Eissa
  • Hilary Hoynes

Abstract

This paper examines the distributional and behavioral effects of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). We chart the growth of the program over time, and argue several expansions show that real responses to taxes are important. We use tax data to show the distribution of benefits by income and family size, and examine the impacts of hypothetical reforms (expansions and contractions) to the credit. Finally, we calculate the efficiency effects of marginal changes to EITC parameters. Targeting the EITC to lower-income families by raising the phase-out rate generates a welfare loss for single mothers, primarily because of the disincentive to enter the labor market and not the traditional hours-of-work distortion.

Suggested Citation

  • Nada Eissa & Hilary Hoynes, 2008. "Redistribution and Tax Expenditures: The Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Working Papers 14307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14307
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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.
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    12. Ellwood, David T., 2000. "The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Social Policy Reforms on Work, Marriage, and Living Arrangements," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1063-1106, December.
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    1. repec:eme:ceapzz:s0573-855520140000293006 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Aaberge, Rolf & Flood, Lennart, 2013. "U.S. versus Sweden: The Effect of Alternative In-Work Tax Credit Policies on Labour Supply of Single Mothers," IZA Discussion Papers 7706, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Bargain, Olivier & Dolls, Mathias & Immervoll, Herwig & Neumann, Dirk & Peichl, Andreas & Pestel, Nico & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2011. "Tax Policy and Income Inequality in the U.S., 1978-2009: A Decomposition Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 5910, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Claudio Agostini & Javiera Selman & Marcela Perticara, 2012. "Una Propuesta de Crédito Tributario al Ingreso para Chile," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv282, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.
    5. John Schmitt, 2012. "Low-wage Lessons," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2012-03, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    6. Athreya, Kartik B. & Reilly, Devin & Simpson, Nicole B., 2014. "Young Unskilled Women and the Earned Income Tax Credit: Insurance Without Disincentives?," Working Paper 14-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, revised 01 Jun 2014.
    7. Nathaniel Hendren, 2016. "The Policy Elasticity," Tax Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 51-89.
    8. Bargain, Olivier & Dolls, Mathias & Immervoll, Herwig & Neumann, Dirk & Peichl, Andreas & Pestel, Nico & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2013. "Partisan Tax Policy and Income Inequality in the U.S., 1979-2007," IZA Discussion Papers 7190, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Olivier Bargain & Mathias Dolls & Dirk Neumann & Andreas Peichl & Sebastian Siegloch, 2014. "Comparing inequality aversion across countries when labor supply responses differ," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 21(5), pages 845-873, October.
    10. Figari, Francesco, 2009. "Can in-work benefits improve social inclusion in the southern European countries?," EUROMOD Working Papers EM4/09, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    11. Gunter, Samara, 2013. "State Earned Income Tax Credits and Participation in Regular and Informal Work," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 66(1), pages 33-62, March.
    12. Andrés Hernando & Estéfano Rubio, 2015. "Aporte solidario al ingreso de trabajo (ASIT): una mejor alternativa contra la desigualdad," Puntos de Referencia 419, Centro de Estudios Públicos.
    13. Giuseppe De Luca & Claudio Rossetti & Daniela Vuri, 2012. "In-Work Benefits for Married Couples: An Ex-Ante Evaluation of EITC and WTC Policies in Italy," CEIS Research Paper 244, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 23 Jul 2012.
    14. Athreya, Kartik & Reilly, Devin & Simpson, Nicole B., 2014. "Single Mothers and the Earned Income Tax Credit: Insurance Without Disincentives?," IZA Discussion Papers 8114, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Simpson, Nicole B., 2013. "Families, Taxes and the Welfare System," IZA Discussion Papers 7369, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Nathaniel Hendren, 2013. "The Policy Elasticity," NBER Working Papers 19177, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. David Neumark, 2016. "Policy levers to increase jobs and increase income from work after the Great Recession," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-38, December.
    18. Nathaniel Hendren, 2014. "The Policy Elasticity," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 30 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Tomer Blumkin & Haim Pinhas & Ro'i Zultan, 2017. "Leveraging Wage Subsidies to Facilitate Fair Wages and Increase Social Welfare," CESifo Working Paper Series 6597, CESifo Group Munich.
    20. Jesse Rothstein, 2009. "Is the EITC Equivalent to an NIT? Conditional Cash Transfers and Tax Incidence," NBER Working Papers 14966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. Rolf Aaberge & Ugo Colombino, 2014. "Labour Supply Models," Contributions to Economic Analysis,in: Handbook of Microsimulation Modelling, volume 127, pages 167-221 Emerald Publishing Ltd.

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    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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