Research

2021

We examine the relationship between the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Black-White after-tax income inequality from 1980-2020. The EITC lowers overall inequality by 5-10 percent in a typical year, improving the incomes of Black households relative to White households in the bottom half of the distribution. Gains in relative economic status emerged after the 1993 EITC expansion, concentrated among working class Black households, and not extending to those at the very bottom.

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.

This study estimated the effects of welfare reform in the 1990s, which permanently restructured and contracted the cash assistance system in the U.S., on food insecurity—a fundamental form of hardship—of the next generation of young adults. An implicit goal underlying welfare reform was the disruption of an assumed intergenerational transmission of disadvantage; however, little is known about the effects of welfare reform on the well-being of the next generation.

Food insecurity, a condition of limited access to nutritious food, is a critical issue for college students’ health and well-being. In this report, we present results from our project that examines the long-term effects of college students’ food insecurity on future socioeconomic status, wealth, and food insecurity using nationally representative data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics.

We examine intra- and intergenerational food security dynamics in the United States using longitudinal data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) while accounting for measurement error. To proceed, we apply recently developed methods on the partial identification of transition matrices. We show that accounting for measurement error is crucial as even modest errors can dwarf the information contained in the data.

This paper introduces a new measure, the probability of food security (PFS), to study food security dynamics in the United States. PFS represents the estimated probability that a household's food expenditures equal or exceed the minimum cost of a healthful diet, as reflected in the United States Department of Agriculture's Thrifty Food Plan monthly cost estimates.

In the United States, almost one in seven households with children have limited access to food. The problem of food insecurity is closely tied to a household’s financial circumstances. Yet, prior research has paid insufficient attention to the financial risk factors beyond poverty that impact food insecurity.

We investigate the intersection of family size, food security, and the efficacy of public benefits, especially with respect to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Food security literature pays scant attention to the role of number of children in a household – an important dimension for understanding family resource and food assistance adequacy in the context of child well-being.

Using data from the Consumer Expenditures Survey, we document the level and volatility of quarterly consumption across the socio-economic distribution. While the measurement of economic well-being in the United States is focused on income, the secular and policy discourse prioritizes income-adequacy to meet family needs. This concern over income adequacy centers on the capacity of individuals and families to predictably consume minimally acceptable levels of basic needs, and the social and economic mobility consequences of low levels of consumption.

I examine trends in the material well-being of working-class households using data from the Current Population Survey in the two decades surrounding the Great Recession. Average earnings, homeownership, and insurance coverage all fell, while absolute poverty and food insecurity accelerated leading up to the Great Recession. After-tax incomes were stagnant for much of the distribution across and within skill groups.