PUBLICATIONS AND UNDER REVIEW
Journal of Labor Economics (October 2018, vol. 36, no. 4, pp. 1127-1163)
Abstract: Using 4 decades of variation in the federal and state EITC, we estimate the impact of exposure to EITC expansions in childhood on education and employment outcomes in adulthood. Reduced-form results suggest that an additional $1,000 in EITC exposure when a child is 13–18 years old increases the likelihood of completing high school (1.3%), completing college (4.2%), and being employed as a young adult (1.0%) and earnings by 2.2%. Our analysis reveals that the primary channel through which the EITC improves these outcomes is increases in pretax family earnings.
Ungated version here
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, Revise and Resubmit
Winner of the 2017 Outstanding Doctoral Dissertations in Government Finance and Taxation by the National Tax Association
Winner of the 2016 Michael J. Moore Dissertation Prize for Best Paper in Applied Microeconomics
Abstract: The rise of working mothers radically changed the U.S. economy and the role of women in society. In one of the first studies of the 1975 introduction of the Earned Income Tax Credit, I find that this program increased maternal employment by 6 percent, representing one million mothers and an elasticity of 0.49. The EITC may help explain why the U.S. has long had such a high fraction of working mothers despite few childcare subsidies or parental-leave policies. I also find evidence that this influx of working mothers affected social attitudes and led to higher approval of working women.
Presentations: 2018: IZA Workshop on Gender and Family Economics; 2017: New York University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, U.S. Department of the Treasury, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; 2016: Society of Labor Economists, National Tax Association, Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management, Cleveland State University, University of Michigan, Economic History Association (poster), International Institute of Public Finance, Western Economic Association; 2015: Southern Economic Association, National Tax Association, Mannheim Tax Conference, Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management, Midwest Economic Association; 2014: University of Michigan H2D2 Research Conference (poster).
JOB MARKET PAPER
Abstract: This paper studies how behavioral responses to the EITC affect the program's budgetary cost. The EITC encourages labor supply and increases income, thereby reducing public assistance payments to households and increasing taxes paid by households. These sources of revenue reduce the EITC's net cost. We use administrative Internal Revenue Service tax data linked to Current Population Survey data on enrollment in public assistance programs to estimate the EITC's net cost. The evidence from three decades of EITC policy expansions implies that the EITC decreases public assistance received by mothers and increases payroll and sales taxes paid. Our estimates suggest that the EITC has a self-financing rate of 87 percent, so that the EITC's true cost is only 13 percent of the sticker price. Although the EITC is one of the largest and most important public assistance programs in the U.S., we show that the EITC is actually one of the least expensive anti-poverty programs in the U.S., costing taxpayers about half as much as the school lunch and breakfast programs.
Presentations: 2018: University of Michigan, University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, University of Wisconsin, University of Southern California (scheduled), University of Texas at Austin, National Tax Association, Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management, Annual Conference of the Federal Statistical Research Data Centers, Columbia University, International Institute of Public Finance.
WORK IN PROGRESS
Abstract: The EITC provides a ``marriage bonus'' to some couples but a ``marriage penalty'' to others: the average incentive is theoretically ambiguous, has changed over time, and existing empirical evidence has been mixed. The EITC also encourages some households to have more children but others to have less. Using over 30 years of household panel data, I find that federal and state EITC expansions increase marriage and fertility, and decrease non-marital cohabitation. These results imply that some estimates in the EITC literature may be biased, since endogenous switching from unmarried to married or increasing fertility would violate the stable-group-composition condition required by difference in differences.
“Public Policy and Time Spent Between Mothers and Children” with Lance Lochner
“The Earned Income Tax Credit and Older Workers” with Mark Borgschulte
“Does the EITC Help or Harm Rural America? Evidence from Migration” with Dan Black
“Stuck in the Labor Force? Losing Access to the EITC” with Mark Borgschulte, Nirupama Rao
“Attitudes Towards Working Women and World War II”
“The 1964 Civil Rights Act and Black-White Outcomes: 50 Years Later”