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Effects of the 2021 Expanded Child Tax Credit

Paper Session

Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM (CST)

Grand Hyatt, Crockett A/B
Hosted By: Labor and Employment Relations Association
  • Chair: Maggie R. Jones, U.S. Census Bureau

Estimating Income Effects on Earnings using the 2021 Child Tax Credit Expansion

Kye Lippold
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Beata Luczywek
University of California-San Diego


We estimate income effects on earnings using the 2021 expanded Child Tax Credit. Children born in January 2016 were eligible for a credit of $3,600, while children born in December 2015 were eligible for $3,000. We use administrative tax data and a regression discontinuity design to estimate the earnings response to this temporary, one-year $600 increase in non-labor income. We find that employment as reported by third parties decreased by 2.0% in 2021 and 1.1% in 2022 in low-income families, with no effect on families with higher incomes. However, this decrease in wages was offset by an equivalent increase in self-employment income reported on tax returns, implying either increased misreporting or no overall change in real employment.

Not Just for Kids: Child and Dependent Care Credit Benefits for Adult Care

Gabrielle Pepin
W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research
Yulya Truskinovsky
Wayne State University


I estimate effects of Economic Impact Payments (EIP) and Advance Child Tax Credit (CTC) benefits on child care use and quality using mobile device location data linked to state child care licensing records. As low- and moderate-income households were eligible for larger EIP and Advance CTC benefits, I estimate difference-in-differences models, comparing trends in child care visits from individuals living in census tracts with different pre-pandemic median income levels. Preliminary results using data from Virginia suggest that EIP and Advance CTC benefits increased average child care visits per capita in low- and middle-income census tracts by 14 percent and increased the state-administered quality ratings associated with such visits by 7 percent on average.

The Effects of Monthly In-Utero Cash Transfers on Maternal and Infant Health: Evidence from the 2021 Expanded Child Tax Credit

Elizabeth O. Ananat
Barnard College
Jessica Pac
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Christopher Wilmer
University of Columbia
Naomi Zewde
University of California-Los Angeles


We investigate the effects of the 2021 expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC)'s advance monthly payments on levels of and disparities in maternal and infant health. Given these payments’ documented effects on levels of and disparities in poverty and material hardship (see e.g. Wimer et al. 2021; Parolin et al. 2022), and given the similarity between demographic patterns of poverty and material hardship and patterns of poor maternal and infant health in the U.S., we hypothesize that the monthly payments may also ameliorate birth outcomes.

To test this hypothesis, we conduct a difference-in-differences analysis and related appropriate tests. Our identification strategy treats children born into families with older siblings as the treatment group, as those who were gestating when the payments were made were exposed in utero to these payments, while firstborn children (the control group) were not. We include pre-treatment-period births from early 2021 (gestated in the second half of 2020, when payments were not available) and treatment-period births from early 2022 (gestated in the second half of 2021 during the CTC payment period). Using rich data from restricted National Vital Statistics natality files, we conduct tests for heterogeneous treatment effects across a variety of family characteristics (including race and Medicaid eligibility) and examine a number of health outcomes at birth (including birthweight, prematurity, gestational diabetes, and pre-eclampsia). This paper will thereby provide evidence on impacts of this important change in family tax policy on some of the costliest problems in American society.

The Effect of Unconditional Cash Transfers on Infant Health

Krista Ruffini
Georgetown University


This paper examines how cash transfers that are not conditional on employment affect infant health. Leveraging variation in the amount of pandemic-era stimulus and child tax credit payments families received based on household composition, I find that eligibility for an additional $100 of transfers reduced the prevalence of low birthweight by 2-3 percent, with larger effects for payments received later in pregnancy, but of a similar magnitude across the population. The payments increased prenatal care and improved maternal health in ways that are consistent with families both increasing investments in children and improving the prenatal environment.

Matthew Unrath
U.S. Census Bureau
Jake Schild
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
JEL Classifications
  • H2 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
  • H3 - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents