The Impact of Tax Refund Delays on the Experience of Hardship Among Lower-Income Households

Abstract The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) provides substantial financial support to low-income workers in the USA, yet around a quarter of EITC payments are estimated to be erroneous or fraudulent. Beginning in 2017, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 requires the Internal Revenue Service to spend additional time processing early EITC […]

Disrupted and Disconnected: Child Activities, Social Skills, and Race/Ethnicity During the Pandemic

Abstract Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, parents reported that their children spent the majority of their time at home, which can dramatically change their activities and negatively impact their social skills. However, research has yet to uncover the relationships between changes in activities during the pandemic and children’s social skills, nor the degree to which […]

COVID-19 job and income loss and mental health: the mediating roles of financial assets and well-being and the moderating role of race/ethnicity

Abstract Prior research shows unemployment has a negative effect on mental health, yet whether this relationship is affected by financial factors is unknown. For example, having money in savings may mitigate the impact of job loss on mental health. We use structural equation modeling with data from the Socio-Economic Impacts of COVID-19 Survey with a […]

Nothing to show for it: Financial Distress and Re-Enrollment Aspirations for those with non-degreed debt

Abstract The number of individuals with student loan debt who do not earn their degrees is on the rise; nevertheless, there is little research that demonstrates their current circumstances and future aspirations. We address this knowledge gap by comparing the financial distresses and re-enrollment aspirations of student debt-holders who started college but did not earn […]

All over the Map: A Systematic Literature Review and State Policy Scan of Medicaid Buy-In Programs for Working Individuals with Disabilities

Abstract While supports for people with disabilities have increased, significant healthcare and financial barriers persist. State-administered Medicaid Buy-In programs for working people with disabilities, distinct from broader buy-in discussions that have emerged as some states consider expanding access to health insurance, are intended to incentivize employment and protect against a loss of Long-Term Services and […]

Public perceptions and the willingness to get vaccinated against COVID-19: Lessons from Israel

Abstract Objectives To explore the associations between vaccine hesitancy and demographic and socio-economic characteristics, as well as perspective towards the COVID-19 and its vaccines. Methods Data were collected through four online surveys on Israel’s representative sample in March (3/2 to 3/7, n = 1517), August (8/10–8/11, n = 925; 8/18–8/22, n = 1054), and September (9/22-9/24; n=1406), 2021. We employ a […]

Suspended While Black in Majority White Schools: Implications for Math Efficacy and Equity

This article explores whether racial disparities in mathematics arise in majority White schools for students who receive in-school suspensions (ISS). Using data from the High School Longitudinal Survey and machine learning generated propensity scores to estimate average treatment effects, we find Black suspended students in schools with low White enrollment have math test scores and […]

Public perceptions and the willingness to get vaccinated against COVID-19: Lessons from Israel

Abstract Objectives To explore the associations between vaccine hesitancy and demographic and socio-economic characteristics, as well as perspective towards the COVID-19 and its vaccines. Methods Data were collected through four online surveys on Israel’s representative sample in March (3/2 to 3/7, n = 1517), August (8/10–8/11, n = 925; 8/18–8/22, n = 1054), and September (9/22-9/24; n=1406), 2021. We employ a […]

The Impact of Tax Refund Delays on the Experience of Hardship Among Lower-Income Households

Abstract The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) provides substantial financial support to low-income workers in the USA, yet around a quarter of EITC payments are estimated to be erroneous or fraudulent. Beginning in 2017, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 requires the Internal Revenue Service to spend additional time processing early EITC […]

The Precarity of Self-Employment among Low- and Moderate-Income Households

Abstract Many people in the United States have achieved economic stability through self-employment and are often seen as embracing the entrepreneurial spirit and seizing opportunity. Yet, research also suggests that self-employment may be precarious for many people in the lower socioeconomic strata. Drawing on a unique dataset that combines longitudinal survey data with administrative tax […]

Do Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Savings and Job Loss during COVID-19 Explain Disparities in Housing Hardships? A Moderated Mediation Analysis

Abstract Despite the array of public programs offered to help households mitigate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, many still needed to rely on savings, credit, or other assets to make ends meet. This reality may exacerbate existing social and economic inequities because racial and ethnic minorities often have lower access to assets and […]

Introduction: The COVID-19 Shock to Our Deep Inequities: How to Mitigate the Impact

The COVID-19 pandemic affected nearly every aspect of household health, as well as the social and economic well-being of individuals and communities across the United States. Many in our society have faced and continue to face unprecedented challenges. Specifically, the pandemic put a microscope on inequities such as racial disparities in housing, health care, and […]

Crashing without a Parachute: Racial and Educational Disparities in Unemployment during COVID-19

Abstract The burden of the COVID-19 pandemic has not been shouldered equally by American families. Black and Hispanic communities have been hit the hardest, with the pandemic often exacerbating existing disparities. Using nationally representative data, we assess the economic and public health effects of the pandemic among different socioeconomic groups and whether typical sources of […]

Cut me some slack! An exploration of slack resources and technology-mediated human capital investments in entrepreneurship

Purpose In this paper, the authors explore the relationship that slack resources and technology-mediated human capital investments can have on individuals’ entrepreneurial intentions. Focusing on human capital investments that individuals make through education and work, the authors analyze the relationship among formal online learning opportunities, informal skill development in the gig economy and entrepreneurial intentions. […]

Increased School Breakfast Participation from Policy and Program Innovation: The Community Eligibility Provision and Breakfast after the Bell

Abstract School meals provide significant access to food and nutrition for children and adolescents, particularly through universal free meal mechanisms. Alongside added nutritional meal requirements under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (2010), schools can utilize meal program and policy mechanisms such as the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) and Breakfast after the Bell (BATB) to increase […]

How Did School Meal Access Change during the COVID-19 Pandemic? A Two-Step Floating Catchment Area Analysis of a Large Metropolitan Area

SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) resulted in school closures and contingencies across the U.S. that limited access to school meals for students. While some schools attempted to provide alternative meal access points where students or parents could pick up meals, many students—especially those in low-income households—lacked adequate transportation to these access points. Thus, physical proximity to meal access […]

COVID-19 Among Youth in Israel: Correlates of Decisions to Vaccinate and Reasons for Refusal

The primary aim of the present study is to examine the reasons for adolescents’ refusal to get vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine, and examine correlates of vaccination among adolescents aged 12–18 years in Israel. A total of 150 youth aged 12–18 years participated in the study. Following parental consent (30% response rate) from an online internet […]

Financial Shocks and Financial Well-Being: What Builds Resiliency in Lower-Income Households?

Households in the U.S. regularly experience unexpected negative income or expense shocks, and low- and moderate-income households experience these shocks at disproportionately high rates. Relatively little is known about the impact these shocks have on households’ subjective sense of financial well-being, and how access to different types of liquidity (e.g., liquid assets, credit cards, social […]

The Impact of State Earned Income Tax Credit Increases on Material and Medical Hardship

The federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) provides substantial financial assistance to low- and moderate-income workers and has been shown to reduce poverty and encourage employment. Many U.S. states have also implemented their own EITCs to supplement the federal tax credits. Leveraging unique administrative and survey data and employing a difference-in-differences approach, this study investigates […]

Material Hardship among Lower-Income Households: The Role of Liquid Assets and Place

Lower-income households are at risk for material hardship, particularly amidst the economic fallout of COVID-19. Where one lives (e.g., suburb, small town) may affect this risk due to variable access to resources, yet the evidence is mixed concerning the influence of place. We used a pooled, national cross-sectional sample of 66,046 lower-income tax filers to […]

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Housing Instability during the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of Assets and Income Shocks

Abstract Stable and adequate housing is critical in the midst of a pandemic; without housing, individuals and families cannot shelter in place to prevent the spread of disease. Understanding and combating housing hardships in vulnerable populations is therefore essential to a sound public health response. This study aims to explore the pandemic’s disproportionate impacts on […]

Assessing the Short-Term Stability of Financial Well-Being in Low- and Moderate-Income Households

Much of the literature on household finance tends to focus on relatively objective measures of financial security (e.g., savings, income, financial knowledge), and there has been less research on measures of subjective financial well-being. This gap is due in part to the absence of a common understanding on defining and measuring subjective financial well-being. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau […]

Can Workplace Financial Counseling Help Lower-Income Workers Improve Credit Outcomes?

Financial counseling has been found to be effective in improving consumers’ credit outcomes and could be expanded through the workplace to reach lower-income workers who struggle with various financial challenges. We examine engagement and credit outcomes associated with a workplace financial counseling program offered to 2,849 frontline workers in New York City. Age and credit […]

The Process of “Pushing Out”: Accumulated Disadvantage across School Punishment and Math Achievement Trajectories

Students drop out of school for a variety of reasons, yet are “pushed out” when they exhibit traits that are deemed undesirable to school officials, such as misbehavior and academic failure. While much of the previous research on pushouts views the phenomenon as a discrete occurrence often attributed to either misbehavior or academic failure, we […]

Are Foreclosure Spillover Effects Universal? Variation Over Space and Time

Government intervention in the housing market in response to the 2007–2010 mortgage crisis was driven in part by research showing that foreclosures lower neighboring housing values and thus increase neighbors’ risk of foreclosure. Researchers have consistently identified a negative spillover effect of foreclosures on nearby housing values, but the magnitude of the effect varies widely […]

From intention to action: A systematic literature review of provider behaviour change‐focused interventions in physical health and behavioural health settings

It is clear there are significant delays in the uptake of best practices as part of routine care in the healthcare system, yet there is conflicting evidence on how to specifically align provider behaviour with best practices. Method We conducted a review of interventions utilized to change any aspect of provider behaviour. To extend prior […]

Can pre-commitment increase savings deposits? Evidence from a tax-time field experiment

This experiment tested combinations of behavioral strategies to promote savings including (1) asking filers at the start of tax preparation to pre-commit to saving their refund, and (2) choice architecture manipulations that emphasized directly depositing their refund into savings accounts or savings bond purchases.

Employee financial wellness programs: Opportunities to promote financial inclusion?

Findings suggest that these services are reaching a population that experiences financial exclusion, though evidence is mixed concerning how these services help workers with LMI resolve key financial challenges. Community collaboration focused on employee financial wellness presents opportunities to advocate for higher wages and better benefits.

Employee financial wellness programs: Promising new benefit for frontline workers?

Availability of different EFWP benefits ranged from 11 to 15% and over a third of workers were unaware of whether their employer offered an EFWP. Experiencing financial difficulties predicted both EFWP awareness and use suggesting that employers should take time to assess employees’ specific financial challenges to select benefits. Yet, use of EFWPs by LMI workers may suggest the need for better compensation and work conditions.

Veering off track in U.S. high schools? Redirecting student trajectories by disrupting punishment and math course-taking tracks

Students in punishment “tracks” are rarely in advanced course-taking “tracks” in high school. Yet, there is little research that demonstrates the relationships between punishment and advanced course-taking, nor research that demonstrates how punishment and advanced course-taking together can impact long-term student trajectories. Using multi-level modeling with a national longitudinal study of high school students, we observed reciprocal disruptions. Advanced […]

The Collateral Damage of In-School Suspensions: A Counterfactual Analysis of High-Suspension Schools, Math Achievement and College Attendance

Even the least severe forms of exclusionary discipline are associated with detrimental effects for students that attend schools that overuse them. With a nationally representative longitudinal study of high school students, we utilize propensity score weighting to limit selection bias associated with schools that issue high numbers of in-school suspensions. Accounting for school social order […]

Financially Stressed Families Save More with Medicaid, Study Shows

As the gig economy plays an increasingly important role in the labor market, there is a need to understand the economic factors that influence participation in this sector. In this paper, we investigate how saving the federal tax refund affects gig economy participation for low-income online tax filers in the six months following tax filing. […]

Disparate Impacts: Balancing the Need for Safe Schools With Racial Equity in Discipline

Policy responses to gun violence within K-12 school systems have not stopped the increasing frequency of their occurrence, but have instead increased racial and ethnic disparities in multiple forms of discipline. The crisis prevention policies that follow school shootings tend to exacerbate racial and ethnic discipline disparities (a) within schools as practitioners enact policies with […]

Financial wellness programs in the workplace: Employer motivations and experiences

Employee financial wellness programs (EFWPs) are a benefit innovation that promise to address the financial challenges of employees while also benefiting employers. Results from a mixed-methods study of employers suggest early adopters appear to be motivated primarily by a desire to help employees. EFWP success may depend on promotion by organizational champions. Programs that accommodate […]

The Saving for Every Child Program in Israel: an overview of a universal asset-building policy

In 2017, the Israeli government implemented a universal child development account programme – the Saving for Every Child Program (SECP) – which establishes a personal savings account for every Israeli child and provides monthly deposits until the child turns 18. The SECP has the potential to provide substantial assets when children reach adulthood, but the […]

Enrollment and participation in a universal child savings program: Evidence from the rollout of Israel’s National Program

Child Development Accounts (CDAs) are savings or investment accounts typically opened at birth or during a child’s early years with the aim of promoting savings and asset accumulation for child development purposes, such as post-secondary education or homeownership. Beginning in January of 2017, the Israeli government established a universal CDA program called the Saving for […]

Effects of a tax-time savings experiment on material and health care hardship among low-income filers

Material and health care hardship is common among households with low incomes and is associated with a host of adverse outcomes but can be mitigated with having savings. The authors assessed the effects of online tax-time savings interventions informed by behavioral economics on hardship among a sample of low- and moderate-income tax filers (N = 4,738). The […]

Encouraging Tax‐Time Savings With A Low‐Touch, Large‐Scale Intervention: Evidence From The Refund To Savings Experiment

Low‐ and moderate‐income households often struggle to save, but the annual tax refund represents a prime opportunity for these households to save toward their financial goals or build their emergency savings. This paper presents the results of a randomized, controlled experiment embedded in a free tax‐preparation product offered in 2013 to low‐ and moderate‐income households. […]

Effects of a randomized tax-time savings intervention on savings account ownership among low- and moderate-income households

Being unbanked makes it difficult for low and moderate-income (LMI) households to manage finances, save, and access credit. We assessed effects of an online tax-time savings intervention on savings account openings in the 6 months following tax filing among a sample of4,692 LMI tax filers. Treatment group participants had 60% greater odds of opening a […]

The mediating role of assets in explaining hardship risk among households experiencing financial shocks

Material hardship is common among low- and moderate-income (LMI) households. Without liquid financial assets, these households are more likely to experience hardship in the face of financial shocks—large and unexpected expenses or dips in income. Authors hypothesized that shocks have a direct effect on hardship, and that liquid financial assets partially mediate the relationship between […]

Financial shocks, liquid assets, and material hardship in low- and moderate-income households: Differences by race

Low- and moderate-income (LMI) households need financial assets to help cope with income and expenditure shocks. Prior research identifies racial differences in wealth and wealth effects. We examined whether these gaps and effects exist for liquid financial assets. Using group invariance tests in structural equation modeling, we assessed the relationship between financial shocks and material […]

Behavioral interventions to increase tax-time saving: Evidence from a national randomized trial

Too many households have too little set aside for emergencies, long-term goals, or retirement. This study presents evidence from the Refund to Savings Initiative, a large-scale randomized experiment testing interventions to increase household savings by encouraging filers to set aside a portion of their tax returns. Grounded in techniques of behavioral economics, these interventions are […]

The role of choice architecture in promoting saving at tax time: Evidence from a large-scale field experiment

Tax refunds give many low-and moderate-income (LMI) households a rare opportunity to save for unexpected expenses. We conducted three experiments aimed at increasing tax-time savings by LMI consumers. In a large field experiment, the most effective intervention increased the average savings deposits by about 50%. Delivered as people filed taxes online, this treatment consisted of […]

Effects of a tax-time savings intervention on use of alternative financial services among lower-income households

Alternative financial services (AFS) such as check cashing and payday loans may help unbanked households meet transaction and credit needs, yet often at a very high price. Saving tax refunds can help low- and moderate-income (LMI) households build emergency savings as a way to reduce dependence on AFS and cope effectively with irregular cash flows […]

Do tax-time savings deposits reduce hardship among low-income filers? A propensity score analysis

A lack of emergency savings renders low-income households vulnerable to material hardships resulting from unexpected expenses or loss of income. Having emergency savings helps these households respond to unexpected events, maintain consumption, and avoid high-cost credit products. Because many low-income households receive sizable federal tax refunds, tax time is an opportunity for these households to […]