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Author Notes:


Kelli A. Komro, Conceptualization, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing; Phenesse Dunlap, Conceptualization, Data curation, Methodology, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing; Nolan Sroczynski, Data curation, Formal analysis, Visualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing; Melvin D. Livingston, Data curation, Formal analysis, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing; Megan A. Kelly, Data curation, Writing – review & editing; Dawn Pepin, Data curation, Writing – review & editing; Sara Markowitz, Formal analysis, Validation, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing; Shelby Rentmeester, Project administration, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing; Alexander C. Wagenaar, Funding acquisition, Writing – review & editing.

The authors thank Scott Burris, JD, and Lindsay K. Cloud, JD, with Temple University Beasley School of Law Center for Public Health Law Research and the LawAtlas team for legal scholarship and coding through 2016.

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


Research Funding:

The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, National Institutes of Health (https://www.nimhd.nih.gov) through award R01MD010241 to KAK and ACW, The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health (https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov) through training award T32 HL130025 to PD, and the Policy Research, Analysis, and Development Office; Office of the Associate Director for Policy and Strategy; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/policy/about/index.html) supported this research. The findings and conclusions of this paper are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the National Institutes of Health or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


  • Science & Technology
  • Multidisciplinary Sciences
  • Science & Technology - Other Topics
  • RISK

Anti-poverty policy and health: Attributes and diffusion of state earned income tax credits across US states from 1980 to 2020

Journal Title:



Volume 15, Number 11


, Pages e0242514-e0242514

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Purpose The U.S. federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is often considered the most effective antipoverty program for families in the U.S., leading to a variety of improved outcomes such as educational attainment, work incentives, economic activity, income, and health benefits for mothers, infants and children. State EITC supplements to the federal credit can significantly enhance the magnitude of this intervention. In this paper we advance EITC and health research by: 1) describing the diffusion of state EITC policies over 40 years, 2) presenting patterns in important EITC policy dimensions across space and time, and 3) disseminating a robust data set to advance future research by policy analysts and scientists. Methods We used current public health law research methods to systematically collect, conduct textual legal analysis, and numerically code all EITC legislative changes from 1980 through 2020 in the 50 states and Washington, D.C. Results First, the pattern of diffusion across states and time shows initial introductions during the 1990s in the Midwest, then spreading to the Northeast, with more recent expansions in the West and South. Second, differences by state and time of important policy dimensions are evident, including size of credit and refundability. Third, state EITC benefits vary considerably by household structure. Conclusion Continued research on health outcomes is warranted to capture the full range of potential beneficial effects of EITCs on family and child wellbeing. Lawyers and policy analysts can collaborate with epidemiologists and economists on other high-quality empirical studies to assess the many dimensions of policy and law that potentially affect the social determinants of health.

Copyright information:


This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Universal : Public Domain Dedication License (https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/rdf).
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