The Effect of Earned Income Tax Credit Expansions on the Smoking Behavior of Women

41 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2011

See all articles by Benjamin Cowan

Benjamin Cowan

Washington State University

Nathan Tefft

Bates College

Date Written: October 11, 2011

Abstract

We investigate the impact of Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) expansions on the smoking behavior of women. The differential increases in federal EITC benefits by family size as part of the 1993 OBRA expansion allow for a comparison of smoking status changes between women with and without children and between mothers with one and more than one child. We exploit these changes in a difference-in-differences framework using data from the 1993-2001 waves of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to show that the increase in EITC benefits yielded a significant decline in the likelihood of smoking among unmarried women with less than a college degree. These results are also robust to an alternative measure of EITC expansion, specifically the maximum state-level EITC benefit (in dollars), which varies across states and over the full course of the sample time frame.

Keywords: EITC, smoking, income, employment

JEL Classification: I38, H53, J22, I18

Suggested Citation

Cowan, Benjamin and Tefft, Nathan, The Effect of Earned Income Tax Credit Expansions on the Smoking Behavior of Women (October 11, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1942378 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1942378

Benjamin Cowan

Washington State University ( email )

Nathan Tefft (Contact Author)

Bates College ( email )

Lewiston, ME 04240
United States

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