Safety Net Against Hunger? The Effects of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Food Insecurity

34 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2019

See all articles by Otto Lenhart

Otto Lenhart

University of Strathclyde - Strathclyde Business School

Date Written: May 15, 2019

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and food insecurity for low-income households. While previous work has established that the EITC can provide health benefits, less is known about the underlying mechanisms through which this occurs. Using the 2009 expansion of the program, I estimate DD and DDD models to evaluate the role of food security as a potential channel explaining the relationship between the EITC and health. My analysis provides evidence that food insecurity decreased significantly for households benefiting from the policy change. I find that the expansion of the EITC, which increased predicted annual benefits by $635 to $669, reduced the likelihood of these households being food insecure by 7.0 to 11.4 percent. The results are robust to different selections of the sample and several alternative model specifications.

Keywords: Earned Income Tax Credit, Food insecurity, Health outcomes, Mechanisms

JEL Classification: I12, I14, I38, J38

Suggested Citation

Lenhart, Otto, Safety Net Against Hunger? The Effects of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Food Insecurity (May 15, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3389709 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3389709

Otto Lenhart (Contact Author)

University of Strathclyde - Strathclyde Business School ( email )

100 Cathedral Street
Glasgow G1 1XU
United Kingdom

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