The Earned Income Tax Credit and Parent-Child Time Use

Taryn Morrissey , American University

This study examines whether the addition of money via the receipt of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) affects parent-child time use patterns. Using difference-in-differences analyses that exploit seasonal variation in EITC refund receipt with nationally representative time-diary data from the 2003-2017 American Time Use Survey-Current Population Survey (ATUS-CPS), the plausibly causal effects of EITC receipt on the quantity and quality of parent-child time use were estimated. Results suggest that receipt of EITC refunds are associated with short-term increases in time with children for females, particularly unmarried females, and short-term decreases in time with children for males. Among the parents of children under 6, EITC receipt was associated with more time spent working. EITC receipt also predicted a short-term decrease in parent-child time spent in enriching activities, but this appears may be attributed to seasonal fluctuations. Research and policy implications are discussed.

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 Presented in Session 153. Poverty and Social Policy