The Child Tax Credit and labor market outcomes of mothers

This paper examines the effect of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) on the labor supply of single and married mothers using the numerous policy reforms in the credit generosity and eligibility criteria since its inception in 1997. I use variation in the simulated benefits for a nationally representative sample to estimate the labor supply response at the extensive and intensive margins.

Covid-19 and the U.S. safety net

We examine trends in employment, earnings, and incomes over the last two decades in the United States, and how the safety net has responded to changing fortunes, including the shutdown of the economy in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic. The U.S. safety net is a patchwork of different programs providing in-kind as well as cash benefits and had many holes prior to the Pandemic. In addition, few of the programs are designed explicitly as automatic stabilizers.

Relative poverty in Great Britain and the United States, 1979-2017

This article examines the major changes to the face of poverty in Britain over the past few decades, assessing the role of policy, and compares and contrasts this with the patterns seen in the United States, using harmonized household survey data. There are various commonalities between the countries, including a shift in the composition of those in poverty toward working-age households without children, who have not been the focus of policy attention.

The antipoverty impact of the EITC: New estimates from survey and administrative tax records

This version of DP2019-01 is a June 2020 update. Evaluations of the EITC, including its antipoverty effectiveness, are based on simulated EITC benefits using either the Census Bureau’s tax module or from external tax simulators such as the National Bureau of Economic Research’s TAXSIM or Jon Bakija’s model. Each simulator utilizes model-based assumptions on who is and who is not eligible for the EITC, and conditional on eligibility, assumes that participation is 100 percent.

Economic change and the social safety net: Are rural Americans still behind?

This aim of this paper is to assess the economic status of rural people five decades after publication of President Johnson's National Commission on Rural Poverty report The People Left Behind. Using data from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement of the CPS, along with county data from the Regional Economic Information System, I focus on how changes in employment, wages, and the social safety net have influenced the evolution of poverty and inequality in rural and urban places.

The changing safety net for low income parents and their children: Structural or cyclical changes in income support policy?

Refundable tax credits and food assistance are the largest transfer programs available to able-bodied working poor and near-poor families in the United States, and simultaneous participation in these programs has more than doubled since the early 2000s.

Income, Program Participation, Poverty, and Financial Vulnerability: Research and Data Needs

The aim of this paper is to assess the adequacy of the data infrastructure in the United States to meet future research and policy evaluation needs as it pertains to income, program participation, poverty, and financial vulnerability. I first discuss some major research themes that are likely to dominate policy and scientific discussions in the coming decade.

The role of CPS nonresponse on the level and trend in poverty

The Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) serves as the data source for official income, poverty, and inequality statistics in the United States. There is a concern that the rise in nonresponse to earnings questions could deteriorate data quality and distort estimates of these important metrics. We use a dataset of internal ASEC records matched to Social Security Detailed Earnings Records (DER) to study the impact of earnings nonresponse on estimates of poverty from 1997-2008.

The effect of SNAP on poverty

The SNAP program cost one half of one percent, according to a 2013 estimate by Robert Moffitt. For that amount we get a 16 percent reduction in poverty (8 million fewer poor people) after an adjustment for underreporting, based on USDA Administrative data. Moreover we get a 41 percent cut in the poverty gap, which measures the depth of poverty and a 54 percent decline in the severity of poverty, when we add SNAP benefits to Census money incomes and recalculate the official poverty rate.

Appalachian legacy: Economic opportunity after the War on Poverty

In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson went to Kentucky’s Martin County to declare war on poverty. The following year he signed the Appalachian Regional Development Act, creating a state-federal partnership to improve the region’s economic prospects through better job opportunities, greater human capital, and enhanced transportation. As the focal point of domestic antipoverty efforts, Appalachia took on special symbolic as well as economic importance. Nearly half a century later, what are the results?