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State Earned Income Tax Credits and the Production of Child Health: Insurance Coverage, Utilization, and Health Status

March 2016

Reagan A. Baughman, Noelia Duchovny


Linkages between state Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) and child health in recipient families are explored in this study. The authors measure the impact of state EITCs on child health through changes in family income, access and utilization of health insurance by type, and time invested by parents in their children. Controlling for differences in demographics and variations in state EITCs, results find that the tax credit does not significantly impact child health for those in younger age cohorts, though it does appear to contribute to better health outcomes and an increased likelihood of private health coverage for older children.

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Policy Implications

State EITCs may have a positive health impact on older children, but implementation or the existence of a state EITC does not necessarily lead to significant changes in overall child health outcomes. Despite this, it is worth noting that the health status of a child is a strong indicator of future health status as an adult. Additionally, if a decrease in use of public health insurance in favor of private coverage were to be a political objective, a state EITC may prove itself a beneficial tool.

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