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EITC, AFDC, and the Female Headship Decision

  • S. Dickert-Conlin
  • S. Houser
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    Concerns about the incentives for female headship for low-income families have focused on Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC); however, the expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has brought more low-income households into the tax system, subjecting them to additional marriage nonneutralities. Theoretical predictions about the correlations between the EITC and female headship are ambiguous. This paper is the first to provide empirical evidence that the EITC is correlated with female headship decisions. Using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, we find no significant correlations between AFDC and female headship. However, the ambiguous effect of the EITC on female headship is evident in our empirical analysis. After controlling for individual effects, we find that higher EITCs are associated with increased female headship for white women, but with decreased female headship for black women. For a sample of white women, we find that a $100 increase in the EITC would increase the probability of female headship by 0.1 percent. For a sample of black women, we find that a $100 increase in the EITC would decrease the probability of female headship by 1.4 percent, although this result is not robust.

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    File URL: http://www.irp.wisc.edu/publications/dps/pdfs/dp119299.pdf
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    Paper provided by University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty in its series Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers with number 1192-99.

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    Handle: RePEc:wop:wispod:1192-99
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