NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Redistribution and Tax Expenditures: The Earned Income Tax Credit

Nada Eissa, Hilary Hoynes

NBER Working Paper No. 14307
Issued in September 2008
NBER Program(s):   PE

This paper examines the distributional and behavioral effects of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). We chart the growth of the program over time, and argue several expansions show that real responses to taxes are important. We use tax data to show the distribution of benefits by income and family size, and examine the impacts of hypothetical reforms (expansions and contractions) to the credit. Finally, we calculate the efficiency effects of marginal changes to EITC parameters. Targeting the EITC to lower-income families by raising the phase-out rate generates a welfare loss for single mothers, primarily because of the disincentive to enter the labor market and not the traditional hours-of-work distortion.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14307

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