The Earned Income Tax Credit and Infant Health Revisited

51 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2019 Last revised: 7 May 2022

See all articles by Daniel Dench

Daniel Dench

City University of New York (CUNY) - CUNY Graduate Center

Theodore Joyce

CUNY Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: November 2019

Abstract

Hoynes, Miller and Simon (2015), henceforth HMS, report that the national expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is associated with decreases in low birth weight. We question their findings. HMS’s difference-in-differences estimates are unidentified in some comparisons, while failed placebo tests undermine others. Their effects lack a plausible mechanism as the association between the EITC and prenatal smoking also fails placebo tests. We contend that the waning of the crack epidemic is a possible confound, but we show that any number of policies directed at poor women also eliminate the effect of the EITC when aggregated to the national level. Identifying small, causal effects of a national policy at a single point in time is exceedingly challenging.

Suggested Citation

Dench, Daniel and Joyce, Theodore J., The Earned Income Tax Credit and Infant Health Revisited (November 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w26476, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3488976

Daniel Dench (Contact Author)

City University of New York (CUNY) - CUNY Graduate Center ( email )

New York, NY
United States

Theodore J. Joyce

CUNY Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business ( email )

17 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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New York, NY 10016-4309
United States

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