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Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects

  • Bruce D. Meyer
  • Dan T. Rosenbaum

We describe the enormous changes in social and tax policy in recent years that have encouraged work by single mothers. We document the changes in federal and state income taxes, AFDC and Food Stamp benefits, Medicaid, training and child care programs. We describe the quantitative importance of these changes and their timing. We also describe how these changes differed across states and show how they affected families with different numbers and ages of children and with different family incomes. We then examine whether the changes in employment rates over time for different demographic groups and states are consistent with a causal effect of these policies on employment. We use multiple comparison groups and two datasets over a long time period. The results support the more structural findings in Meyer and Rosenbaum (1999a) of substantial EITC effects on employment as well as the findings in Eissa and Liebman (1996) and Ellwood (1999).

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7491.

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Date of creation: Jan 2000
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Publication status: published as Meyer, Bruce D. and Dan T. Rosenbaum. "Welfare, The Earned Income Tax Credit, And The Labor Supply Of Single Mothers," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2001, v116(3,Aug), 1063-1114.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7491
Note: CH LS PE
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  1. 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.
  2. Nada Eissa & Hilary Williamson Hoynes, 2000. "The Earned Income Tax Credit and the Labor Supply of Married Couples," Public Economics 9912001, EconWPA.
  3. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
  4. Eissa, Nada & Liebman, Jeffrey B, 1996. "Labor Supply Response to the Earned Income Tax Credit," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 605-37, May.
  5. 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.
  6. Danziger, Sheldon & Haveman, Robert & Plotnick, Robert, 1981. "How Income Transfer Programs Affect Work, Savings, and the Income Distribution: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 975-1028, September.
  7. 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.
  8. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1999. "Welfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers," NBER Working Papers 7363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Daniel Feenberg & Elisabeth Coutts, 1993. "An introduction to the TAXSIM model," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 189-194.
  10. David T. Ellwood, 1999. "The Impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Social Policy Reforms on Work, Marriage, and Living Arrangements," JCPR Working Papers 124, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  11. David M. Cutler & Jonathan Gruber, 1995. "Does Public Insurance Crowd Out Private Insurance?," NBER Working Papers 5082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Henry S. Farber & Helen Levy, 1998. "Recent Trends in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Coverage: Are Bad Jobs Getting Worse?," Working Papers 781, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  13. Janet Currie & Aaron S. Yelowitz, 1999. "Health Insurance and Less Skilled Workers," JCPR Working Papers 63, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  14. Rebecca M. Blank, 1997. "Policy Watch: The 1996 Welfare Reform," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 169-177, Winter.
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