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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Hamad, Rita; Rehkopf, David H.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2015

    Background

    Economic interventions are increasingly recognised as a mechanism to address perinatal health outcomes among disadvantaged groups. In the US, the earned income tax credit (EITC) is the largest poverty alleviation programme. Little is known about its effects on perinatal health among recipients and their children. We exploit quasi-random variation in the size of EITC payments to examine the effects of income on perinatal health.

    Methods

    The study sample includes women surveyed in the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (n = 2985) and their children born during 1986–2000 (n = 4683). Outcome variables include utilisation of prenatal and postnatal care, use of alcohol and tobacco during pregnancy, term birth, birthweight, and breast-feeding status. We first examine the health effects of both household income and EITC payment size using multivariable linear regressions. We then employ instrumental variables analysis to estimate the causal effect of income on perinatal health, using EITC payment size as an instrument for household income.

    ...

    Background

    Economic interventions are increasingly recognised as a mechanism to address perinatal health outcomes among disadvantaged groups. In the US, the earned income tax credit (EITC) is the largest poverty alleviation programme. Little is known about its effects on perinatal health among recipients and their children. We exploit quasi-random variation in the size of EITC payments to examine the effects of income on perinatal health.

    Methods

    The study sample includes women surveyed in the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (n = 2985) and their children born during 1986–2000 (n = 4683). Outcome variables include utilisation of prenatal and postnatal care, use of alcohol and tobacco during pregnancy, term birth, birthweight, and breast-feeding status. We first examine the health effects of both household income and EITC payment size using multivariable linear regressions. We then employ instrumental variables analysis to estimate the causal effect of income on perinatal health, using EITC payment size as an instrument for household income.

    Results

    We find that EITC payment size is associated with better levels of several indicators of perinatal health. Instrumental variables analysis, however, does not reveal a causal association between household income and these health measures.

    Conclusions

    Our findings suggest that associations between income and perinatal health may be confounded by unobserved characteristics, but that EITC income improves perinatal health. Future studies should continue to explore the impacts of economic interventions on perinatal health outcomes, and investigate how different forms of income transfers may have different impacts. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hoynes, Hilary; Miller, Doug; Simon, David
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2015

    This paper uses quasi-experimental variation from federal tax reform to evaluate the effect of the EITC on infant health outcomes. We find that the EITC reduces the incidence of low birth weight and increases mean birth weight: a $1,000 treatment-on-the-treated leads to a 2 to 3 percent decline in low birth weight. Our results suggest that the candidate mechanisms include more prenatal care and less negative health behaviors (smoking). Additionally, we find a shift from public to private insurance coverage, and for some a reduction in insurance overall, indicating a potential change in the quality and perhaps quantity of coverage. (Author abstract)

    This paper uses quasi-experimental variation from federal tax reform to evaluate the effect of the EITC on infant health outcomes. We find that the EITC reduces the incidence of low birth weight and increases mean birth weight: a $1,000 treatment-on-the-treated leads to a 2 to 3 percent decline in low birth weight. Our results suggest that the candidate mechanisms include more prenatal care and less negative health behaviors (smoking). Additionally, we find a shift from public to private insurance coverage, and for some a reduction in insurance overall, indicating a potential change in the quality and perhaps quantity of coverage. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Strully, Kate W.; Rehkopf, David H.; Xuanc, Ziming
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2010

    This study estimates the effects of prenatal poverty on birth weight using changes in state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) as a natural experiment. We seek to answer two questions about poverty and child wellbeing. First, are there associations between prenatal poverty and lower birth weights even after factoring out unmeasured potential confounders? Because birth weight predicts a range of outcomes across the life course, lower birth weights that result from poverty may have lasting consequences for children’s life chances. Second, how have recent expansions of a work-based welfare program (i.e., the EITC) affected maternal and infant health? In recent decades, U.S. poverty relief has become increasingly tied to earnings and labor markets, but the consequences for children’s wellbeing remain controversial. We find that state EITCs increase birth weights and reduce maternal smoking. However, results related to AFDC/TANF and varying EITC effects across maternal ages raise cautionary messages. (author abstract)

    This study estimates the effects of prenatal poverty on birth weight using changes in state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) as a natural experiment. We seek to answer two questions about poverty and child wellbeing. First, are there associations between prenatal poverty and lower birth weights even after factoring out unmeasured potential confounders? Because birth weight predicts a range of outcomes across the life course, lower birth weights that result from poverty may have lasting consequences for children’s life chances. Second, how have recent expansions of a work-based welfare program (i.e., the EITC) affected maternal and infant health? In recent decades, U.S. poverty relief has become increasingly tied to earnings and labor markets, but the consequences for children’s wellbeing remain controversial. We find that state EITCs increase birth weights and reduce maternal smoking. However, results related to AFDC/TANF and varying EITC effects across maternal ages raise cautionary messages. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Smith, Sheila; Granja, Maribel R.; Nguyen, Sophie (Uyen)
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    Young children whose families face economic hardship are more likely than their peers in financially secure families to experience a range of adversities that may greatly limit their opportunities for success as adults. Parents of these children show a higher prevalence of health and mental health problems and often reside in communities where they do not feel safe or supported. Young children in poverty have higher rates of chronic health conditions such as asthma and diabetes, and a greater incidence of developmental delays, learning difficulties, and behavior problems. Poverty’s harmful effects even extend to changes in parts of the brain that govern language, memory, and behavioral control — capacities that are critical for school success. (Author introduction)

     

    Young children whose families face economic hardship are more likely than their peers in financially secure families to experience a range of adversities that may greatly limit their opportunities for success as adults. Parents of these children show a higher prevalence of health and mental health problems and often reside in communities where they do not feel safe or supported. Young children in poverty have higher rates of chronic health conditions such as asthma and diabetes, and a greater incidence of developmental delays, learning difficulties, and behavior problems. Poverty’s harmful effects even extend to changes in parts of the brain that govern language, memory, and behavioral control — capacities that are critical for school success. (Author introduction)

     

  • Individual Author: Bohn, Sarah; Danielson, Caroline
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    Nearly a quarter of young children in California live in poverty—a fact that has profound educational, health, and economic repercussions now and in the long term. High housing costs and low wages are key barriers to reducing the prevalence of child poverty. Lawmakers have taken action to address these issues: the minimum wage is slated to increase to $15 an hour by 2022, and recently enacted laws aim to ease the state’s housing crisis.

    This report examines how high housing costs and low wages contribute to poverty among young children ages 0–5 and considers additional policy approaches that could mitigate need among this population. Our related interactive allows for a deeper exploration of how these potential changes could affect California’s diverse counties. We find:

    • In California, most young children live in areas with high costs of living, and most parents work. Among poor families with young children, 78 percent of adults work in low-wage jobs and 31 percent pay more than half their income toward housing. The challenges facing these families differ...

    Nearly a quarter of young children in California live in poverty—a fact that has profound educational, health, and economic repercussions now and in the long term. High housing costs and low wages are key barriers to reducing the prevalence of child poverty. Lawmakers have taken action to address these issues: the minimum wage is slated to increase to $15 an hour by 2022, and recently enacted laws aim to ease the state’s housing crisis.

    This report examines how high housing costs and low wages contribute to poverty among young children ages 0–5 and considers additional policy approaches that could mitigate need among this population. Our related interactive allows for a deeper exploration of how these potential changes could affect California’s diverse counties. We find:

    • In California, most young children live in areas with high costs of living, and most parents work. Among poor families with young children, 78 percent of adults work in low-wage jobs and 31 percent pay more than half their income toward housing. The challenges facing these families differ across the state. Those in low-cost areas—mostly inland and northern regions—are more likely to work low-wage jobs, while those in high-cost coastal and urban areas are more likely to pay a large share of their income toward housing. Minimum wage increases and lower housing costs could reduce child poverty substantially, especially in high-cost areas.
    • The current safety net is limited in its ability to reach some of the lowest-income families in the state. Devoting more resources to address this gap through, for example, expansions to the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit or a broad-based child credit could assist many severely poor families. Such approaches would have larger impacts on child poverty in low-cost areas. In contrast, rental assistance that targets both low incomes and high housing costs would reduce child poverty to a similar degree across the state. The approaches we examine range widely in estimated total costs, from $417 million to $2.3 billion, and would assist 210,000 to 390,000 young children statewide.
    • The current safety net is also limited in its ability to reach low- and moderate-income families who are struggling but may not fully qualify for existing programs—a particular challenge in high-cost areas. Taking into account the cost of living when determining income eligibility for work-based, child, or renter’s credits would help address this gap and could reach those missed by current programs. These approaches range from $4.1 billion to $5.6 billion in estimated total costs and would assist 310,000 to 1.6 million young children statewide. (Author summary)

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