Panel Paper: The Effect of EITC Exposure in Childhood on Marriage and Early Childbearing

Friday, November 8, 2019
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Plaza Court 7 (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Katherine Michelmore and Leonard M. Lopoo, Syracuse University

This paper evaluates the effect of one of our largest anti-poverty programs, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), on marriage and early childbearing among men and women. Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), the authors evaluate how policy-induced increases in EITC exposure between birth and age 15 affect subsequent marriage and childbearing between ages 18 and 25. Results suggest that exposure to the EITC in childhood significantly reduces the probability that women give birth by age 20, by age 25, and reduces the likelihood of marrying before age 24. We estimate that these delays in childbearing likely reduced social welfare expenditures between $107 and $225 million annually.