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Effects of State-Level Earned Income Tax Credit Laws in the U.S. On Maternal Health Behaviors and Infant Health Outcomes

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Effects of State-Level Earned Income Tax Credit Laws in the U.S. On Maternal Health Behaviors and Infant Health Outcomes

Sara Markowitz et al. Soc Sci Med.

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effects of state-level Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) laws in the U.S. on maternal health behaviors and infant health outcomes. Using multi-state, multi-year difference-in-differences analyses, we estimated effects of state EITC generosity on maternal health behaviors, birth weight and gestation weeks. We find little difference in maternal health behaviors associated with state-level EITC. In contrast, results for key infant health outcomes of birth weight and gestation weeks show small improvements in states with EITCs, with larger effects seen among states with more generous EITCs. Our results provide evidence for important health benefits of state-level EITC policies.

Keywords: Earned Income Tax Credit; Health policy; Infant health; Maternal health; Socioeconomic factors.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Categories of EITC in 1994 and 2013, parents with one child 1994 Notes: High EITC is defined as ≥10 percent of the federal EITC. Low EITC is defined as < 10 percent of federal. EITC categories for zero children and two or more may differ. Maryland is excluded from our analysis because of the unique structure of their EITC law, which does not match the measurement model used for all the other states.
Figure 2
Figure 2
Effects of EITC Generosity on Birth Weight Using Unconditional Quantile Regression at 5th through 95th Quantiles Note: N=30,780,950. Solid marker indicates point estimate is statistically significant at the 5% level.

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