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 […]

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 […]

Does Savings Affect Participation in the Gig Economy? Evidence from a Tax Refund Field Experiment

This paper investigates how saving the federal tax refund affects gig economy participation for low-income online tax filers in the six months following tax filing. Using longitudinal survey and administrative data, we leverage random assignment in a unique refund savings experiment as an instrument for refund savings. We find significant heterogeneity in estimated effects that are consistent […]

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. […]

The Impact of Gig-Economy on Financial Hardship among Low-Income Families” Kaitlin Daniels, Olin Business School at Washington University

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. […]

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 […]

Home delinquency rates are lower among ACA Marketplace households: Evidence from a natural experiment

This brief uses administrative income tax data coupled with survey responses from roughly 5,000 households living near the poverty line to estimate how access to the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance Marketplaces have affected households’ experiences of extreme illiquidity, which is measured by delinquencies on home payments. To estimate this relationship, we exploit a natural […]

Coping with a crisis: Financial resources available to low- and moderate-income households in emergencies

Using data from tax records and a longitudinal survey, this brief investigates the choices low- and moderate-income households make about their tax withholding and their preferences for withholding. The relationship between withholding preferences and the use of the tax refund, measures of material hardship, and the use of alternative financial services is also explored. We […]

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 […]

Characteristics and hardships associated with bank account ownership among Refund to Savings participants

Having a bank account is one important way for households to securely accumulate savings, build credit, and earn interest on assets. Nationally, 7.7% of households are unbanked—lacking both a checking and a savings account. One proposed step toward financial inclusion is to encourage unbanked households to open accounts and deposit refunds into savings at tax […]

The role of health insurance in the financial lives of low- and moderate-income households

Health insurance is an important resource for enabling access to and use of medical care, and is associated with reduced risk for mortality and poor health outcomes. Health insurance also protects households from incurring major medical expenses and unmanageable levels of medical debt. About a quarter of a sample of low- and moderate-income (LMI) tax […]

Financial anxiety in low- and moderate-income households: Findings from the Household Financial Survey

Despite significant gains in the U.S. economy following the Great Recession, finances remain a common source of stress for many American households. In 2016, 52% of U.S. workers reported that their financial position made them stressed, and research reveals that stress and anxiety associated with finances are particularly common among low-income Americans. In this brief, […]

Use of alternative financial services in low- and moderate-income households: Evidence from Refund to Savings

Unable to conduct everyday financial transactions without a bank account or in need of flexible, shortterm credit, many low- and moderate-income (LMI) households turn to alternative financial services (AFSs). This brief summarizes research on AFS use among LMI tax filers participating in the Refund to Savings (R2S) Initiative. We make an important contribution to AFS […]