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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: 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: 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: Meyer, Bruce D.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2002

    Some previous studies have emphasized differences between labor-supply responses on the extensive margin (participation) and intensive margin (hours worked) (e.g., James J. Heckman, 1993; Jean Kimmel and Thomas J. Kniesner, 1998). Recent tax and welfare policy changes provide a potentially more convincing way of identifying these responses than is available in other nonexperimental data. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) changes during the 1990- 1996 period sharply altered the budget sets of single mothers over a short period of time. These changes in incentives are likely to be unrelated to differences across individuals in the desire to work and thus are likely to be exogenous to labor-supply decisions. This lack of exogeneity is harder to claim for wage differences across people, which are the main alternative source of identifying variation. In addition to preference heterogeneity, wages are driven by supply and demand factors that one must account for to obtain valid estimates using wage variation.

    The EITC unequivocally encourages single parents to work at least...

    Some previous studies have emphasized differences between labor-supply responses on the extensive margin (participation) and intensive margin (hours worked) (e.g., James J. Heckman, 1993; Jean Kimmel and Thomas J. Kniesner, 1998). Recent tax and welfare policy changes provide a potentially more convincing way of identifying these responses than is available in other nonexperimental data. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) changes during the 1990- 1996 period sharply altered the budget sets of single mothers over a short period of time. These changes in incentives are likely to be unrelated to differences across individuals in the desire to work and thus are likely to be exogenous to labor-supply decisions. This lack of exogeneity is harder to claim for wage differences across people, which are the main alternative source of identifying variation. In addition to preference heterogeneity, wages are driven by supply and demand factors that one must account for to obtain valid estimates using wage variation.

    The EITC unequivocally encourages single parents to work at least some hours during a year because it shifts out the budget set at all positive hours points. This first prediction is clearly confirmed by the data. In addition, theory implies that the EITC will decrease hours worked among those already working because most recipients are on the plateau or phase-out portions of the credit schedule. For these recipients, the EITC reduces or does not affect the after-tax wage while at the same time discouraging work through the income effect of the credit payment. However, recent hours-worked patterns for EITC-eligible individuals do not appear to fit this second prediction. Hours and weeks worked by likely recipient groups have not fallen. This paper analyzes this puzzling finding, building on earlier work by Nada Eissa and Jeffrey Liebman (1996) and Meyer and Dan T. Rosenbaum (1999).

    This study shows that nearly all of the labor-supply adjustment of single mothers occurs at the extensive margin, not the intensive margin. This finding raises the issue of what model features are needed to explain both participation and hours but leaves the answer to be provided in future work. This finding also suggests that the large literature simulating alternative policies for low-wage workers such as the EITC may be misleading because nearly all work has used models that imply similar responses on participation and hours margins. (author abstract)

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