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How do the U.S and Canadian Social Safety Nets Compare for Women and Children?

Listed author(s):
  • Hilary Hoynes
  • Mark Stabile

The past 25 years has seen substantial change in the social safety nets for families with children in the US and Canada. Both countries have moved away from cash welfare but the US has done so relying more exclusively on inwork benefits with work requirements. This paper examines this evolution across the two countries and examines the effects on employment and poverty. In particular, we focus on the two largest programs over this period: the U.S. EITC and the Canadian NCB/CCTB. In light of these policy changes, we examine trends in employment and poverty of the most affected families -- single mothers with less than a college degree -- across the two countries. We find that employment improved substantially in both countries, absolutely and relative to a control group of single women without children. The cross-country differences in relative trends are mainly explained by differences in the labor market conditions. Poverty rates for single mothers also declined in both countries with more of the decline coming through market income in the U.S. and benefit income in Canada.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23380.

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Date of creation: May 2017
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23380
Note: CH LS PE
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  1. Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "Do Taxpayers Bunch at Kink Points?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 180-212, August.
  2. Milligan, Kevin & Stabile, Mark, 2007. "The integration of child tax credits and welfare: Evidence from the Canadian National Child Benefit program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 305-326, February.
  3. Hilary Hoynes & Jesse Rothstein, 2016. "Tax Policy Toward Low-Income Families," NBER Working Papers 22080, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-1035, December.
  6. Raj Chetty & John N. Friedman & Emmanuel Saez, 2013. "Using Differences in Knowledge across Neighborhoods to Uncover the Impacts of the EITC on Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(7), pages 2683-2721, December.
  7. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1999. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," JCPR Working Papers 152, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  8. Meyer, Bruce D. & Rosenbaum, Dan T., 2000. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and Its Effects," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(4), pages 1027-1062, December.
  9. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez, 2013. "Teaching the Tax Code: Earnings Responses to an Experiment with EITC Recipients," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 1-31, January.
  10. Marianne Bitler & Hilary Hoynes, 2016. "The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same? The Safety Net and Poverty in the Great Recession," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(S1), pages 403-444.
  11. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
  12. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 2001. "Using the EITC to Help Poor Families: New Evidence and a Comparison With the Minimum Wage," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 54(2), pages 281-318, June.
  13. Hilary W. Hoynes & Ankur J. Patel, 2015. "Effective Policy for Reducing Inequality? The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Distribution of Income," NBER Working Papers 21340, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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