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American Economic Journal: Economic Policy: Vol. 2 No. 1 (February 2010)

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Is the EITC as Good as an NIT? Conditional Cash Transfers and Tax Incidence

Article Citation

Rothstein, Jesse. 2010. "Is the EITC as Good as an NIT? Conditional Cash Transfers and Tax Incidence." American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 2(1): 177-208.

DOI: 10.1257/pol.2.1.177

Abstract

The EITC is intended to encourage work. But EITC-induced increases in labor supply may drive wages down. I simulate the economic incidence of the EITC. In each scenario that I consider, a large portion of low-income single mothers' EITC payments is captured by employers through reduced wages. Workers who are EITC ineligible also see wage declines. By contrast, a traditional Negative Income Tax (NIT) discourages work, and so induces large transfers from employers to their workers. With my preferred parameters, $1 in EITC spending increases after-tax incomes by $0.73, while $1 spent on the NIT yields $1.39. (JEL H22, H23, H24, H31, J22)

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Authors

Rothstein, Jesse (Princeton U)

JEL Classifications

H22: Taxation and Subsidies: Incidence
H23: Taxation and Subsidies: Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
H24: Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies; includes inheritance and gift taxes
H31: Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents: Household
J22: Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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