What Kind of Jobs? The Effect of the Earned Income Tax Credit on Job Quality

Awarded Scholars:
Katherine Michelmore, Syracuse University
Natasha Pilkauskas, University of Michigan
Project Date:
Feb 2020
Award Amount:

In recent decades, government assistance to low-income families has shifted away from direct cash assistance and toward work-contingent benefits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC has been credited with increasing the labor supply of single mothers and lifting millions of families out of poverty each year. Yet, little is known about the type or quality of work that single mothers find. Katherine Michelmore and Natasha Pilkauskas will analyze the extent to which EITC expansions have affected the job quality of unmarried single mothers, as they are the primary EITC recipients. They will examine job quality (schedules, multiple job-holding, overwork, occupation, union membership, fringe benefits), and long-term employment (stability, tenure, wage growth) and explore the extent to which EITC expansions might explain job quality changes. Data come from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) from 1990 through 2008 and the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), from 1998 to 2016, allowing the PIs to follow individuals and their labor market trajectories longitudinally.


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