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July 10, 2024

Has Income Growth between Generations of Americans Stalled?

A defining aspect of the American dream is that the economic well-being of each generation surpasses that of the previous one. However, commentators have questioned whether this holds true for the most recent generations. A 2022 Gallup poll found that only 42 percent of Americans expect today’s young people to have a better life than…

April 9, 2024

The Child Tax Credit: My Long-Read Q&A with Kevin Corinth

The Child Tax Credit is a tax benefit available to many American families for the purpose of reducing their federal income tax liability. It’s specifically designed to help offset the cost of raising children. The CTC of today, however, differs starkly from its pre-pandemic structure. Many economists, including Kevin Corinth, think that the post-pandemic changes were a step…

March 28, 2024

An Early Look at the Child Tax Credit Changes in the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024

Abstract The Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024, which the US House of Representatives passed on January 31, 2024, and the Senate is now considering, would make important changes to the child tax credit (CTC) if enacted. The legislation would increase CTC payments for families with lower earnings, apply a one-year…

February 7, 2024

Child Tax Credit Bill Would Increase Marriage Penalties for Working Single Mothers

H.R. 7024, the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024, was passed by the House last week and is now moving to the Senate for consideration. The bill would change the Child Tax Credit (CTC) in several ways. The two most contentious changes are a one-year lookback for the refundable portion of…

February 2, 2024

Has Intergenerational Progress Stalled? Income Growth over Five Generations of Americans

Abstract We find that each of the past four generations of Americans was better off than the previous one, using a post-tax, post-transfer income measure constructed annually from 1963-2022 based on the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement. At age 36–40, Millennials had a real median household income that was 18 percent higher…

January 30, 2024

How Sensitive Are Single Mothers’ Work Decisions to a Change in Incentives? Correcting Misperceptions of the Evidence

Let’s start with a table. (With apologies to our mobile audience…) Evidence on Extensive Margin Employment Elasticities for Single Mothers   Reported Revised Consistent w/ 0.75? Notes Reviews or Based on Reviews Corinth et al. (2021, rev 2022) 0.75 —   p. 22; based on midpoint of McClelland and Mok (2012), p. 5 (below); unpublished…

January 29, 2024

Per-Child Benefit in Wyden-Smith Child Tax Credit Bill Would Discourage Full-Time Work for Families with Multiple Children

The Wyden-Smith proposed tax legislation would make four changes to the Child Tax Credit (CTC). First, it would increase the cap on the refundable portion of the CTC, eventually to the same amount as the maximum non-refundable CTC. Second, it would begin indexing the maximum non-refundable CTC with inflation. Third, it would apply a one-year lookback for…

January 29, 2024

Let’s Not Turn the Child Tax Credit Into Welfare

A renewed effort to expand the child tax credit (CTC) is currently making its way through Congress. The proposed policy would increase benefits for low-income families—especially those with multiple children—automatically grow the credit with inflation, and most contentiously, eliminate the work requirement for families who had earnings in the prior year. In debating these changes and even…

January 19, 2024

The Work Incentive and Employment Effects of Eliminating the Child Tax Credit’s Annual Income Requirement

Abstract Senior House and Senate tax committee leaders agreed to a framework for modifying the Child Tax Credit on January 16, 2024. The most consequential reform would eliminate the Child Tax Credit’s annual income requirement by allowing individuals to calculate their eligibility using their current or prior year’s income, whichever year maximizes the family’s benefit….

November 30, 2023

Evaluating the Success of the War on Poverty Since 1963 Using an Absolute Full-Income Poverty Measure

Abstract We evaluate progress in the War on Poverty as President Lyndon B. Johnson defined it, which established a 20% baseline poverty rate and adopted an absolute standard. While the official poverty rate fell from 19.5% in 1963 to 10.5% in 2019, our absolute full-income poverty measure—which uses a fuller income measure and updates thresholds…