My job market paper “Does the EITC Pay for Itself?” uses newly available CPS ASEC data linked to IRS tax data and shows that by encouraging lower-income mothers to work, the EITC increases the taxes that these women pay and decreases the public assistance that they receive. As a result, the EITC helps “pay for itself.'' To calculate the EITC's net cost to government, the research design exploits three decades of plausibly exogenous EITC policy changes, which generates discontinuities in EITC eligibility over time based on family structure. We find that EITC-led changes in tax revenue and public assistance spending offset at least 60 percent of the EITC's contemporaneous cost to the government. We corroborate these results with state reports on aggregate employment and tax revenue. Furthermore, accounting for the value of improved health, decreased crime, and improved outcomes of children of EITC recipients, suggests that the EITC more than pays for itself. The positive effect of the EITC on social welfare is higher than previously understood.
My dissertation was chosen as a winner of the 2017 Outstanding Doctoral Dissertations in Government Finance and Taxation by the National Tax Association.
I am a Post-Doctoral Scholar at the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy. My research focuses on how public policy can reduce poverty, increase economic opportunity, and encourage egalitarian social attitudes. Specifically, my current research looks at the Earned Income Tax Credit and finds that this program helped lead to the rise of working mothers in the 1970s (PDF), improved the education and employment outcomes of children of EITC recipients (PDF), changed social attitudes about the role of women in society (PDF), and had positive effects on marriage and fertility (PDF).
Before starting at the University of Chicago, I completed a Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Michigan, as well as an M.A. in Economics at New York University and a B.A. in Mathematics.