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Using the EITC to Help Poor Families: New Evidence and a Comparision with the Minimum Wage

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  • David Neumark
  • William Wascher

Abstract

This paper evaluates the effects of the earned income tax credit (EITC) on poor families. Exploiting state-level variation in EITCs, we find that the EITC helps families rise above poverty-level earnings. This occurs by inducing labor market entry in families that initially do not have an adult in the workforce. Evidence based on the federal EITC is less supportive of a positive impact of the EITC on poor families. Finally, our results suggest that for the range of policy changes typical of recent history in the U.S., the EITC is more beneficial for poor families than is the minimum wage.

Suggested Citation

  • David Neumark & William Wascher, 2000. "Using the EITC to Help Poor Families: New Evidence and a Comparision with the Minimum Wage," NBER Working Papers 7599, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7599
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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.
    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. 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.
    4. David Neumark & Mark Schweitzer & William Wascher, 2005. "The Effects of Minimum Wages on the Distribution of Family Incomes: A Nonparametric Analysis," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 867-894.
    5. Blank, Rebecca M. & Card, David & Robins, Philip K., 1999. "Financial Incentives for Increasing Work and Income Among Low-Income Families," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt2f15x7sg, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. R. V. Burkhauser & K. A. Couch & A. J. Glenn, "undated". "Public policies for the working poor: The earned income tax credit versus minimum wage legislation," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1074-95, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    10. David Neumark & William Wascher, 2002. "Do Minimum Wages Fight Poverty?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(3), pages 315-333, July.
    11. Lisa Barrow & Leslie McGranahan, 1999. "The earned income credit and durable goods purchase," Working Paper Series WP-99-24, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    12. Saul D. Hoffman & Laurence S. Seidman, 1990. "The Earned Income Tax Credit," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number eitc, November.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J39 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Other
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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