The Earned Income Tax Credit's Impact on Health

In this article in Insight, a magazine jointly sponsored by Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families, Grantmakers Income Security Task Force, and EITC Funders Network, Peter Arno and Jeannette Wicks-Lim describe the health impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit.

A longstanding and well-established literature has described a positive relationship between income and other measures of socioeconomic status such as wealth or education and health and well-being (Adler & Rehkopf, 2008; Marmot & Wilkinson, 2005; Braveman et al., 2005; Lantz et al., 1998). The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a broad-based income support program that raises millions of Americans out of poverty, has been well covered by others in this issue. Examining the effect of changes in EITC benefits and their relation to health outcomes is especially useful in deepening our understanding of how income impacts health, because these policy changes can provide a source of income variation that is relatively exogenous to individual or household characteristics. Perhaps more importantly, it provides an opportunity to broaden our views of both health and economic policy by exploring the relationship between them.

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