The Earned Income Tax Credit and Food Consumption Patterns

38 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2013

See all articles by Leslie McGranahan

Leslie McGranahan

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

Northwestern University - School of Education and Social Policy; NBER

Date Written: November 20, 2013

Abstract

The Earned Income Tax Credit is unique among social programs in that benefits are not paid out evenly across the calendar year. We exploit this feature of the EITC to investigate how the credit influences the food expenditure patterns of eligible households. We find that eligible households spend relatively more on healthy items including fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and poultry, and dairy products during the months when most refunds are paid.

Keywords: Earned Income Tax Credit, obesity, food expenditures, healthy eating

JEL Classification: H3, I38, Q18

Suggested Citation

McGranahan, Leslie and Schanzenbach, Diane Whitmore, The Earned Income Tax Credit and Food Consumption Patterns (November 20, 2013). FRB of Chicago Working Paper No. 2013-14, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2366846 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2366846

Leslie McGranahan (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago ( email )

230 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60604
United States
312-322-5023 (Phone)
312-322-2357 (Fax)

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

Northwestern University - School of Education and Social Policy ( email )

Evanston, IL
United States

NBER ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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