Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 537–563

The earned income tax credit and fertility

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00148-007-0177-0

Cite this article as:
Baughman, R. & Dickert-Conlin, S. J Popul Econ (2009) 22: 537. doi:10.1007/s00148-007-0177-0


Government programs designed to provide income safety nets often restrict eligibility to families with children, creating an unintended fertility incentive. This paper considers whether dramatically changing incentives in the earned income tax credit affect fertility rates in the USA. We use birth certificate data spanning the period 1990 to 1999 to test whether expansions in the credit influenced birthrate among targeted families. While economic theory would predict a positive fertility effect of the program for many eligible women, our results indicate that expanding the credit produced only extremely small reductions in higher order fertility among white women.


Earned income tax creditFertilityTaxes

Jel Classifications


Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA