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Public policies for the working poor: The earned income tax credit versus minimum wage legislation

Author

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  • R. V. Burkhauser
  • K. A. Couch
  • A. J. Glenn

Abstract

This paper documents the declining relationship between low hourly wages and low household income over the last half-century and how this has reduced the share of minimum wage workers who live in poor households. It then compares recent and prospective increases in the earned income tax credit (EITC) and the minimum wage as methods of increasing the labor earnings of poor workers. Data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) are used to simulate the effects of both programs. Increases in the EITC between 1989 and 1992 delivered a much larger proportion of a given dollar of benefits to the poor than did increases in the minimum wage from $3.35 to $4.25. Scheduled increases in the EITC through 1996 will also do far more for the working poor than raising the minimum wage.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:wispod:1074-95
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    File URL: http://www.irp.wisc.edu/publications/dps/pdfs/dp107495.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Holtzblatt, Janet & McCubbin, Janet & Gillette, Robert, 1994. "Promoting Work Through the EITC," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(3), pages 591-607, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. David Neumark & William Wascher, 2011. "Does a Higher Minimum Wage Enhance the Effectiveness of the Earned Income Tax Credit?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 64(4), pages 712-746, July.
    2. Bruce D. Meyer, 2010. "The Effects of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Recent Reforms," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 24, pages 153-180 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. 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.
    4. Lee, David & Saez, Emmanuel, 2012. "Optimal minimum wage policy in competitive labor markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 739-749.
    5. David Neumark & William Wascher, 2000. "Using the EITC to Increase Family Earnings: New Evidence and a Comparison with the Minimum Wage," JCPR Working Papers 134, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    6. Marianne E. Page & Joanne Spetz & Jane Millar, 2005. "Does the minimum wage affect welfare caseloads?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(2), pages 273-295.
    7. Natalya Shelkova, 2015. "Low-Wage Labor Markets and the Power of Suggestion," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 73(1), pages 61-88, March.
    8. Barry Bluestone & Teresa Ghilarducci, "undated". "Making Work Pay, Wage Insurance for the Working Poor," Economics Public Policy Brief Archive ppb_28, Levy Economics Institute.
    9. 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.
    10. Jeffrey Mills & Kakoli Roy & Nicolas Williams, 1999. "Recent minimum wage increases and the minimum wage labor force," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 479-492, December.
    11. Alexandros Karakitsios & Manos Matsaganis, 2018. "Minimum Wage Effects on Poverty and Inequality," DEOS Working Papers 1801, Athens University of Economics and Business.
    12. Richard V. Burkhauser & Kosali I. Simon, 2008. "Who Gets What From Employer Pay or Play Mandates?," Risk Management and Insurance Review, American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 11(1), pages 75-102, March.
    13. Viktor Steiner, 2007. "Beschäftigungsförderung und Einkommenssicherung im Niedriglohnbereich: Wege und Irrwege," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 747, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    14. Michele Campolieti & Morley Gunderson & Byron Lee, 2012. "The (Non) Impact of Minimum Wages on Poverty: Regression and Simulation Evidence for Canada," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 287-302, September.
    15. Jared Bernstein, 2004. "The Living Wage Movement. What Is It, Why Is It, and What's Known about Its Impact?," NBER Chapters,in: Emerging Labor Market Institutions for the Twenty-First Century, pages 99-140 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Kelvin Chi-Kin Cheung & Kee-Lee Chou, 2016. "Working Poor in Hong Kong," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(1), pages 317-335, October.

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