Childhood exposure to the EITC associated with better health in young adulthood

A new study in the Journal of Public Economics evaluates the long-term impact of exposure to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from ages 0-18 on health outcomes of young adults ages 22-27. Researchers used data from the 1968- 2017 Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a nationally representative household survey that has followed a group of households and their descendants since 1968. The authors measure EITC exposure as the maximum federal and state credit a family could receive based on their state, family size, and the year. They choose to model the effects of being “exposed to” the EITC (rather than actual amount received) so as to preserve the models’ ability to separate the EITC’s effects from family income (since the two measures would be too closely related to be included in a single model). Findings suggest the availability of the EITC during childhood was associated with higher self-reported health and lower obesity among young adults.

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