Amanda Eng

Job Market Paper

“Income and the Take-Up of Means Tested Programs,” with Kevin Rinz. (Job Market Paper)

Abstract: Pro-work policies usually decrease household participation in traditional safety-net programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. This negative relationship could be driven by newly working households becoming more self-sufficient or by decreased benefit sizes and higher costs to participate in SNAP and TANF. However, the design of SNAP and TANF makes it difficult to distinguish these factors. In this paper, we estimate how demand for SNAP and TANF changes with income, holding eligibility and take-up costs constant. We use a regression discontinuity design and administrative data on program participation to estimate how additional cash on hand affects program participation. Our variation in income comes from discontinuities in eligibility for tax credits based on whether children are born on or before the end of a calendar year. Tax refunds generally do not affect how much SNAP or TANF benefits households can receive, and we show evidence that take-up costs are the same for households on either side of the cutoff. We find that although eligibility for tax credits decreases households’ tax liability by $2,219 on average, the additional income results in no measurable difference in program participation. These findings suggest that there could be significant benefits to expanding eligibility for these programs.

Publications

Culture and Gender Allocation of Tasks: Source Country Characteristics and the Division of Non-market Work among US Immigrants,” with Francine Blau, Lawrence Kahn, Matthew Comey, Pamela Meyerhofer, and Alexander Willén. Review of Economics of the Household. (forthcoming).

Working Papers

Pell Grants and Student Success: Evidence from the Universe of Federal Aid Recipients,” with Jordan Matsudaira. September 2020. (Revise and Resubmit at Journal of Labor Economics).

Works in Progress

“Do Tax Refunds Create Short Term Stimulus? Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit”

“The Earned Income Tax Credit and Infant Health”

Non-Peer Reviewed Publications

Municipal Debt: What Does It Buy and Who Benefits,” with Harvey Galper, Kim Rueben, and Richard Auxier. National Tax Journal 67, no. 4 (December 2014): 901-24.

Evaluating Broad-Based Approaches for Limiting Tax Expenditures,” with Eric J. Toder and Joseph Rosenberg. National Tax Journal 66, no. 4 (December 2013): 807-32.

New Perspectives on Homeownership Tax Incentives,” with Benjamin H. Harris and C. Eugene Steuerle. Tax Notes (December 23, 2013): 1315-32.

The Benefits of the Mortgage Interest and Property Tax Deductions,” with Benjamin H. Harris. Tax Notes (August 26, 2013): 947.