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June 18, 2024

Economic Opportunity and Social Mobility

Years ago, I worked at the Pew Charitable Trusts on something called the Economic Mobility Project. In 2009, we commissioned a survey covering opportunity, mobility, and the American Dream. One revealing question we asked was the following: The term American Dream means different things to different people. Here are some ways some people have described…

May 20, 2024

Indivar Dutta-Gupta and Scott Winship on the 60th Anniversary of LBJ’s “War on Poverty” on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal”

Indivar Dutta-Gupta and Scott Winship talked about the 60th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society” speech and the war on poverty.

May 16, 2024

Critiquing Bastian (2022, 2023, 2024, and forthcoming):On Child Tax Credit Reform and the Sensitivity of Single Mothers to Work Incentives

Abstract In 2021, Congress passed and President Biden signed a major, but temporary, reform to the Child Tax Credit (CTC). Among other reforms to the credit, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) made it available to non-workers on the same basis as workers. Attempts to make this reform permanent foundered, in part, due to opposition…

May 14, 2024

Understanding Trends in Worker Pay over the Past 50 years

Key Points Executive Summary Doomers on the political left and right agree that economic growth has failed to translate into higher wages for American workers, with some claiming that pay has barely risen in 50 years. Such sentiments have been buttressed by flawed analyses that, comparing apples to oranges in a variety of ways, have…

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…

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 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….

October 31, 2023

It Takes Two

It is indisputable that children are better off living with two nurturing parents who are in a stable, loving relationship compared to any other living situation. But it gets more contentious from there. Does “stability” require marriage? How important is it to live with two biological parents? What if one (or both) adults are not…