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The Effects of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Child Achievement and Long-Term Educational Attainment

November 2013

Michelle Maxfield


The report in question asserts and proves a close relationship between EITC recipient mothers and families and child development. More specifically, there is a positive relationship between EITC reception and Child development for the most part. Mothers/families with children that receive EITC are connected to higher academic performances, lower infant mortality and low birth weights, and lower rates of child depression. The article studied the impact of both federal and state level EITC policies and the effectiveness of their combination. It was discovered that the states with the highest levels of EITC returns (above 12-16%) combined with high Federal EITC returns (above 10%) had the best results regarding lowering infant mortality rates, increasing academic performance, but did not have a conclusive outcome on the impact of child depression. It is speculated, that because EITC receiving single mothers are more likely to participate more in the labor force, that the children do not get enough time to interact with their parent and therefore develop depressed or problematic development tendencies.

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Policy Implications

EITC policies, in order to be effective at combating poverty issues across racial demographics, must be above 10% at least for the state level. There is support within the article that EITC policies that are tailored towards historically poor neighborhoods, has been more effective at decreasing poverty across racial lines than other welfare programs. Additionally, EITC rates increasing can be used as an incentive for education programs and professionals that may not receive high levels of income in poorer areas, but can supplement this income with EITC, should it be high enough. Thus, EITC policies are an adequate welfare provision, when properly funded, to address systemic poverty and begin the rebuilding of traditionally oppressed communities, at the very least for the children growing up within them.

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