Heterogeneous Effects of Anti-Poverty Programs on Health Outcomes: Evidence From the Opportunity NYC-Family Rewards Randomized Controlled Trial

Emilie Courtin , Harvard University
James Riccio, MDRC
Nandita Verma, MDRC
Mauricio Avendano, King's College London / Harvard University
Peter Muennig, Columbia University

Recent quasi-experimental evidence has documented the potential health benefits of the Earned Income Tac Credit (EITC), the largest social policy in the United States. In this paper we describe the health effects of the Paycheck Plus demonstration, an ongoing randomized controlled trial that tests the effect of a fourfold increase in EITC benefits for low-income Americans without dependent children. Starting in 2015, Paycheck Plus offered 1,701 participants up to $2, 000 at tax time. Their health and other outcomes were compared to those of a control group of 1,588 individuals 32 months after randomization. The experiment had no effect on the health-related quality of life of the overall sample. However, it improved the health of women, potentially through reductions in limitations with usual activities. These findings indicate that a generous income supplementation policy targeted at low-income individuals has potential to improve the health of poor Americans.

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 Presented in Session 153. Poverty and Social Policy