The EITC: Expectation, Knowledge, Use, and Economic and Social Mobility
Timothy M. Smeeding
University of Wisconsin - Madison
Katherin Ross Phillips
The Urban Institute
Michael A. O'Connor
Mauk & O'Connor, LLP
Center for Policy Research Working Paper No. 13
This paper presents our findings on the knowledge and use of the 1997 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) based on a sample of Chicago area households with children that filed tax returns in the winter and spring of 1998. Respondents reported in detail about using their federal tax refunds (including the EITC) to pay bills, purchase new items, or save. Data were also gathered on respondents prior knowledge of the EITC and their ability to make particular expenditures without the help of the EITC. Uses of the EITC are divided into those that improve economic and social mobility (e.g., purchase a car, pay tuition, change residence) and those that primarily help to make ends meet (e.g., pay routine bills, purchase food). This is among the first papers to address these issues, despite the fact that the EITC is our largest refundable tax credit program targeted at low-income families.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35
JEL Classification: H21, H24
Date posted: April 25, 2000
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