Examining the Gap in the Earned Income Tax Credit

  • Jennifer Lewis
Keywords: earned income tax credit, EITC, childless EITC, childless workers, noncustodial parents, tax expenditure


One of the largest federal anti-poverty programs, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), is implemented through the tax code and helps lift millions of workers above the poverty threshold. The EITC provides workers with increased financial flexibility and in many cases incentivizes saving among those who would not otherwise be able to set money aside. However, a large disparity exists in the size of the credit for workers with and without dependents, as workers with children receive more than six times the amount a childless worker receives. Because of the benefits associated with the EITC, including its poverty-reduction capabilities and labor supply incentives, many policymakers are calling for an expansion of the program to mitigate this gap. In addition to analyzing the EITC in its current form and several proposed expansions, this article also examines an evaluation of a pilot expansion program occurring in New York and Atlanta.

Author Biography

Jennifer Lewis

JENNIFER LEWIS is a second-year Master of Public Policy candidate at the Trachtenberg School, with a concentration in program evaluation and analysis. She graduated from Birmingham-Southern College in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science. While at Birmingham-Southern, she interned with several organizations, including a nonproft in Washington, D.C. focused on ending homelessness. Tis experience developed her interest in social policy and her love of D.C. Afer graduation, she worked in Alabama at a political polling and strategy frm before transferring to their D.C. ofce, where she is currently employed.