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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: Shaefer, H. Luke; Edin, Kathryn
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2013

    This study documents an increase in the prevalence of extreme poverty among US households with children between 1996 and 2011 and assesses the response of major federal means-tested transfer programs. Extreme poverty is defined using a World Bank metric of global poverty: $2 or less, per person, per day. Using the 1996–2008 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation SIPP, we estimate that in mid-2011, 1.65 million households with 3.55 million children were living in extreme poverty in a given month, based on cash income, constituting 4.3 percent of all nonelderly households with children. The prevalence of extreme poverty has risen sharply since 1996, particularly among those most affected by the 1996 welfare reform. Adding SNAP benefits to household income reduces the number of extremely poor households with children by 48.0 percent in mid-2011. Adding SNAP, refundable tax credits, and housing subsidies reduces it by 62.8 percent. (Author abstract)

    This article is based on a...

    This study documents an increase in the prevalence of extreme poverty among US households with children between 1996 and 2011 and assesses the response of major federal means-tested transfer programs. Extreme poverty is defined using a World Bank metric of global poverty: $2 or less, per person, per day. Using the 1996–2008 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation SIPP, we estimate that in mid-2011, 1.65 million households with 3.55 million children were living in extreme poverty in a given month, based on cash income, constituting 4.3 percent of all nonelderly households with children. The prevalence of extreme poverty has risen sharply since 1996, particularly among those most affected by the 1996 welfare reform. Adding SNAP benefits to household income reduces the number of extremely poor households with children by 48.0 percent in mid-2011. Adding SNAP, refundable tax credits, and housing subsidies reduces it by 62.8 percent. (Author abstract)

    This article is based on a working paper published by the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan.

  • Individual Author: Cancian, Maria; Levinson, Arik
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2005

    We examine the effect of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on labor supply, comparing outcomes in Wisconsin, which supplements the federal EITC for families with three children, to outcomes in states that do not supplement the federal EITC. Relative to previous studies, our cross–state comparison examines a larger difference in EITC subsidy rates, more similar treatment and control groups, and a policy that has been in place longer. Whereas most previous research has found significant effects of the EITC on labor force participation, we find no effect. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

    We examine the effect of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on labor supply, comparing outcomes in Wisconsin, which supplements the federal EITC for families with three children, to outcomes in states that do not supplement the federal EITC. Relative to previous studies, our cross–state comparison examines a larger difference in EITC subsidy rates, more similar treatment and control groups, and a policy that has been in place longer. Whereas most previous research has found significant effects of the EITC on labor force participation, we find no effect. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

  • Individual Author: Leigh, Andrew
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2010

    How are hourly wages affected by the Earned Income Tax Credit? Using variation in state EITC supplements, I find that a 10 percent increase in the generosity of the EITC is associated with a 5 percent fall in the wages of high school dropouts and a 2 percent fall in the wages of those with only a high school diploma, while having no effect on the wages of college graduates. Given the large increase in labor supply induced by the EITC, this is consistent with most reasonable estimates of the elasticity of labor demand. Although workers with children receive a much larger EITC than childless workers, and the effect of the credit on labor force participation is larger for those with children, the hourly wages of both groups are similarly affected by an EITC increase. As a check on this strategy, I also use federal variation in the EITC across gender-age-education groups, and find that those demographic groups that received the largest EITC increases also experienced a drop in their hourly wages, relative to other groups. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a...

    How are hourly wages affected by the Earned Income Tax Credit? Using variation in state EITC supplements, I find that a 10 percent increase in the generosity of the EITC is associated with a 5 percent fall in the wages of high school dropouts and a 2 percent fall in the wages of those with only a high school diploma, while having no effect on the wages of college graduates. Given the large increase in labor supply induced by the EITC, this is consistent with most reasonable estimates of the elasticity of labor demand. Although workers with children receive a much larger EITC than childless workers, and the effect of the credit on labor force participation is larger for those with children, the hourly wages of both groups are similarly affected by an EITC increase. As a check on this strategy, I also use federal variation in the EITC across gender-age-education groups, and find that those demographic groups that received the largest EITC increases also experienced a drop in their hourly wages, relative to other groups. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a discussion paper published by the Institute for the Study of Labor.

  • Individual Author: Eissa, Nada; Hoynes, Hilary W.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2004

    A distinguishing feature of recent changes to the US system of public assistance is its increasing focus on working families and reliance on the tax system to transfer dollars to needy families. After a decade in near total obscurity, the earned income tax credit (EITC) was expanded to become the largest cash-transfer program for lower-income families with children. Advocates of the EITC argue that, unlike traditional welfare, the credit helps “promote both the values of family and work”. Indeed, empirical evidence consistent with economic theory suggests that the EITC promotes employment among eligible unmarried women with children. To target benefits to lower-income families, however, the EITC is based on family income, leading to traditional welfare-type disincentives for most eligible secondary earners. In fact, the EITC is likely to reduce overall family labor supply among married couples. This paper examines the labor force participation response of married couples to EITC expansions between 1984 and 1996. The effect of the credit is estimated using both quasi-experimental...

    A distinguishing feature of recent changes to the US system of public assistance is its increasing focus on working families and reliance on the tax system to transfer dollars to needy families. After a decade in near total obscurity, the earned income tax credit (EITC) was expanded to become the largest cash-transfer program for lower-income families with children. Advocates of the EITC argue that, unlike traditional welfare, the credit helps “promote both the values of family and work”. Indeed, empirical evidence consistent with economic theory suggests that the EITC promotes employment among eligible unmarried women with children. To target benefits to lower-income families, however, the EITC is based on family income, leading to traditional welfare-type disincentives for most eligible secondary earners. In fact, the EITC is likely to reduce overall family labor supply among married couples. This paper examines the labor force participation response of married couples to EITC expansions between 1984 and 1996. The effect of the credit is estimated using both quasi-experimental and traditional reduced-form labor supply models. Results from both models show the same qualitative conclusion, that the EITC expansions reduced total family labor supply of married couples. In all cases, we find a decline in labor force participation by married women that more than offsets any rise in participation by their spouses. While the labor force participation rate of married men increased by about 0.2 percentage points, that of married women decreased by just over a full percentage point. These aggregate effects mask substantial heterogeneity in the population. Women facing the strongest disincentives were more than 2 percentage points less likely to work after the expansions. These findings imply that the EITC is effectively subsidizing married mothers to stay home, and therefore, have implications for the design of the program. (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)

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