Working Paper

The Earned Income Tax Credit and Food Consumption Patterns

Abstract: The Earned Income Tax Credit is unique among social programs in that benefits are not paid out evenly across the calendar year. We exploit this feature of the EITC to investigate how the credit influences the food expenditure patterns of eligible households. We find that eligible households spend relatively more on healthy items including fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and poultry, and dairy products during the months when most refunds are paid.

Keywords: Earned Income Tax Credit; Obesity; Healthy Eating; Food Expenditures;

JEL Classification: H3; I38; Q18;

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    McGranahan, Leslie

    Schanzenbach, Diane Whitmore

Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Part of Series: Working Paper Series

Publication Date: 2013-11-30

Number: WP-2013-14

Pages: 38 pages