Incentives and Disincentives in the U.S. Social Safety Net

The U.S. government policies can significantly alter the incentive of low- and moderate-income families. I study the effects of existing U.S. social safety net programs on labor supply, economic mobility and other decisions such as marriage.

Below is the summary of my work that explores this issue.

The Effect of the ACA on Marginal Tax Rates and Labor Supply

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) represented the largest expansion of public health care coverage since the introduction of Medicaid and Medicare in 1965. The law arguably altered the returns to work and changed the labor supply of Americans. In this paper, I estimate the extent to which these ACA provisions changed the returns to work and affected the labor supply decisions of Americans.

Does Access to Free Prekindergarten Increase Maternal Labor Supply
With Samantha Shampine and Ellie Terry

In this paper we evaluate the effects of state-specific pre-K programs on labor force participation, employment and usual hours of mothers. We use variation in pre-K rules across all U.S. states, including income eligibility requirements in some states.  To estimate the causal effects of access to pre-K on labor supply we exploit the panel aspect of the monthly Current Population Survey between 2002-2019. Specifically we look at the change in labor market behavior of women when their child becomes eligible for pre-K (usually at age 4), controlling for individual factors.

Paying the Poor to Live in Sin - A New Look at the Marriage Tax
With Melinda Pitts and Laurence Kotlikoff

This paper combines the 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances and the 2018 American Community Survey to measure the size and impact of U.S. net marriage taxation. Our marriage tax measure is current and novel. It  incorporates all major federal/state tax/benefit programs as of 2019, records the expected (over survivor paths) loss in remaining lifetime spending from marriage, and controls for partner choice via clone marriage -- respondents marrying themselves.