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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Jones, Maggie R.; Ziliak, James P.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2019

    Evaluations of the EITC, including its antipoverty effectiveness, are based on simulated EITC benefits using either the Census Bureau’s tax module or from external tax simulators such as the National Bureau of Economic Research’s TAXSIM or Jon Bakija’s model. Each simulator utilizes model-based assumptions on who is and who is not eligible for the EITC, and conditional on eligibility, assumes that participation is 100 percent. However, recent evidence suggests that take-up of the EITC is considerably less than 100 percent, and thus claims regarding the impact of the program on measures of poverty may be overstated. We use data from the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC) linked to IRS tax data on the EITC to compare the distribution of EITC benefits from three tax simulation modules to administrative tax records. We find that significantly more actual EITC payments flow to childless tax units than predicted by the tax simulators, and to those whose family income places then well above official poverty thresholds. However, actual EITC...

    Evaluations of the EITC, including its antipoverty effectiveness, are based on simulated EITC benefits using either the Census Bureau’s tax module or from external tax simulators such as the National Bureau of Economic Research’s TAXSIM or Jon Bakija’s model. Each simulator utilizes model-based assumptions on who is and who is not eligible for the EITC, and conditional on eligibility, assumes that participation is 100 percent. However, recent evidence suggests that take-up of the EITC is considerably less than 100 percent, and thus claims regarding the impact of the program on measures of poverty may be overstated. We use data from the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC) linked to IRS tax data on the EITC to compare the distribution of EITC benefits from three tax simulation modules to administrative tax records. We find that significantly more actual EITC payments flow to childless tax units than predicted by the tax simulators, and to those whose family income places then well above official poverty thresholds. However, actual EITC payments appear to be target efficient at the individual tax unit level, whether correctly paid or not. We then compare the antipoverty impact of the EITC across the survey and administrative tax measures of EITC benefits. We find that in the full CPS ASEC the tax simulators overestimate the antipoverty effects of the EITC by about 1.8 million persons in a typical year. Restricting to a harmonized sample of filers, we find that the antipoverty estimates derived from the TAXSIM and Bakija models align more closely to actual EITC payments compared to the CPS, suggesting a discrepancy in assignment of tax filers between the tax simulators. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Berger, Lawrence M. (ed.); Cancian, Maria (ed.); Magnuson, Katherine (ed.)
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2018

    The 2016 presidential election has brought to the fore proposals to fundamentally restructure the U.S. anti-poverty safety net. Even though much of the current debate centers on shrinking or eliminating federal programs, we believe it is necessary and useful to explore alternatives that represent new approaches and significant innovations to existing policy and programs. This double issue of RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences builds on and extends the scholarly conversation on the state of current U.S. anti-poverty policy by high-lighting a collection of related innovative and specific policy proposals for the United States. Well before the election, the authors of the articles in this volume were explicitly tasked with proposing substantially new policies solidly grounded in social science evidence that have the potential to transform anti-poverty policy. Assuming the goal to be reducing poverty among the U.S. population, we asked what new ideas should be seriously considered. The authors responded with carefully crafted proposals that tackle poverty...

    The 2016 presidential election has brought to the fore proposals to fundamentally restructure the U.S. anti-poverty safety net. Even though much of the current debate centers on shrinking or eliminating federal programs, we believe it is necessary and useful to explore alternatives that represent new approaches and significant innovations to existing policy and programs. This double issue of RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences builds on and extends the scholarly conversation on the state of current U.S. anti-poverty policy by high-lighting a collection of related innovative and specific policy proposals for the United States. Well before the election, the authors of the articles in this volume were explicitly tasked with proposing substantially new policies solidly grounded in social science evidence that have the potential to transform anti-poverty policy. Assuming the goal to be reducing poverty among the U.S. population, we asked what new ideas should be seriously considered. The authors responded with carefully crafted proposals that tackle poverty from a variety of perspectives. Some of these proposals are more of a departure from existing policies than others, some borrow from other countries or revive old ideas, some are narrow in focus and others much broader, but all seek to move anti-poverty efforts into new territory. (Author abstract) 

    Contents:

    Introduction

    Anti-Poverty Policy Innovations: New Proposals for Addressing Poverty in the United States

    Lawrence Berger, Maria Cancian, and Katherine Magnuson

    Part I. Tax and Transfer Programs 

    A Universal Child Allowance: A Plan to Reduce Poverty and Income Instability Among Children in the United States

    H. Luke Shaefer, Sophie Collyer, Greg Duncan, Kathryn Edin, Irwin Garfinkel, David Harris, Timothy M. Smeeding, Jane Waldfogel, Christopher Wimer, and Hirokazu Yoshikawa

    Cash for Kids

    Marianne P. Bitler, Annie Laurie Hines, and Marianne Page

    A Targeted Minimum Benefit Plan: A New Proposal to Reduce Poverty Among Older Social Security Recipients

    Pamela Herd, Melissa Favreault, Madonna Harrington Meyer, and Timothy M. Smeeding

    Reforming Policy for Single-Parent Families to Reduce Child Poverty

    Maria Cancian and Daniel R. Meyer

    Reconstructing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to More Effectively Alleviate Food Insecurity in the United States 

    Craig Gundersen, Brent Kreider, and John V. Pepper

    A Renter's Tax Credit to Curtail the Affordable Housing Crisis 

    Sara Kimberlin, Laura Tach, and Christopher Wimer

    The Rainy Day Earned Income Tax Credit: A Reform to Boost Financial Security by Helping Low-Wage Workers Build Emergency Savings

    Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Sara Sternberg Greene, Ezra Levin, and Kathryn Edin

     

  • Individual Author: Bitler, Marianne P.; Hines, Annie Laurie; Page, Marianne
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2018

    Although a growing number of studies suggest that providing poor families with income supplements of as little as $1,000 per year will improve children’s well-being, many poor children miss important sources of income support provided through the tax system because their parents either do not work or do not file taxes. Accessing assistance through means-tested programs is also challenging. We propose replacing the complicated array of benefits provided through the tax system with a universal child benefit of $2,000 per child that would be available regardless of parents’ work status. Our reform would ensure that all children receive enough assistance to make a difference and it would be simpler and more equitable than the current array of child benefits that are provided through the tax code. (Author abstract)

    Although a growing number of studies suggest that providing poor families with income supplements of as little as $1,000 per year will improve children’s well-being, many poor children miss important sources of income support provided through the tax system because their parents either do not work or do not file taxes. Accessing assistance through means-tested programs is also challenging. We propose replacing the complicated array of benefits provided through the tax system with a universal child benefit of $2,000 per child that would be available regardless of parents’ work status. Our reform would ensure that all children receive enough assistance to make a difference and it would be simpler and more equitable than the current array of child benefits that are provided through the tax code. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Herd, Pamela; Favreault, Melissa; Meyer, Madonna Harrington ; Smeeding, Timothy M.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2018

    In recent years, the big news in Social Security reform has been the program’s fiscal concerns. In light of concerns about both program costs and benefit adequacy, we propose an effective and relatively inexpensive targeted program to provide a minimally adequate floor to old-­age income through the Social Security system. This minimum benefit plan would provide a cost-­effective method for reducing elder poverty to very low levels. A key element is that the benefit would not count toward income eligibility thresholds for other social programs. Other aspects include an income-­tested benefit that would bring beneficiaries to 100 percent of the poverty threshold; application by filing of a 1040 income tax return; and setting of benefit levels and distribution through the Social Security Administration. (Author abstract)

    In recent years, the big news in Social Security reform has been the program’s fiscal concerns. In light of concerns about both program costs and benefit adequacy, we propose an effective and relatively inexpensive targeted program to provide a minimally adequate floor to old-­age income through the Social Security system. This minimum benefit plan would provide a cost-­effective method for reducing elder poverty to very low levels. A key element is that the benefit would not count toward income eligibility thresholds for other social programs. Other aspects include an income-­tested benefit that would bring beneficiaries to 100 percent of the poverty threshold; application by filing of a 1040 income tax return; and setting of benefit levels and distribution through the Social Security Administration. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Pilkauskas, Natasha; Michelmore, Katherine
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    As rents have risen and wages have not kept pace, housing affordability has declined over the last 15 years, increasing rates of housing instability (shared living arrangements/doubling up, moves, eviction/homelessness). Housing instability is especially common among low-income families and is linked with many negative outcomes for families and children. Yet surprisingly little is known about the causal impact of income on housing instability and living arrangements, the focus of this study. Using the Current Population Survey, we employ a parameterized difference-in-differences strategy to examine whether policy-induced expansions to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a key income transfer program in the US, affect the living arrangements and housing instability of single mothers. Results suggest that a $1,000 increase in the EITC reduces doubling up (living with additional, non-nuclear family adults) by 2 to 4 percentage points. Single mothers moving out of three-generation households explains much of the decline in shared living arrangements. An increase in the EITC...

    As rents have risen and wages have not kept pace, housing affordability has declined over the last 15 years, increasing rates of housing instability (shared living arrangements/doubling up, moves, eviction/homelessness). Housing instability is especially common among low-income families and is linked with many negative outcomes for families and children. Yet surprisingly little is known about the causal impact of income on housing instability and living arrangements, the focus of this study. Using the Current Population Survey, we employ a parameterized difference-in-differences strategy to examine whether policy-induced expansions to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a key income transfer program in the US, affect the living arrangements and housing instability of single mothers. Results suggest that a $1,000 increase in the EITC reduces doubling up (living with additional, non-nuclear family adults) by 2 to 4 percentage points. Single mothers moving out of three-generation households explains much of the decline in shared living arrangements. An increase in the EITC increases the propensity to have moved in the last year, and to move for a welfare-improving reason. Results are concentrated among single mothers with children under the age of six, suggesting that the EITC has a significant effect on the housing stability and living arrangements of children during a critical developmental period. Findings imply that although the EITC is not an explicit housing policy, it does play a significant role in the living arrangements of single mothers and that income transfers more generally might help improve housing stability. (Author abstract)

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