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Project Citation: 

Linos, Elizabeth, Prohofsky, Allen, Ramesh, Aparna, Rothstein, Jesse, and Unrath, Matthew. Code for: Can Nudges Increase Take-up of the EITC? Evidence from Multiple Field Experiments. Nashville, TN: American Economic Association [publisher], 2022. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2022-10-20.

Project Description

Summary:  View help for Summary
Replication code and instructions, plus supplementary information

Paper abstract:
The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) distributes more than $60 billion to over 20 million low-income families annually. Nevertheless, an estimated one-fifth of eligible households do not claim it. We ran six pre-registered, large-scale field experiments to test whether “nudges” could increase EITC take-up (N=1 million). Despite varying the content, design, messenger, and mode of our messages, we find no evidence that they affected households’ likelihood of filing a tax return or claiming the credit. We conclude that even the most behaviorally informed low-touch outreach efforts cannot overcome the barriers faced by low-income households who do not file returns.

Funding Sources:  View help for Funding Sources Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab; Arnold Ventures; Tipping Point Community; University of Wisconsin. Institute for Research on Poverty; Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy; James Irvine Foundation

Scope of Project

Subject Terms:  View help for Subject Terms EITC; take-up; administrative burden; nudge; tax administration
JEL Classification:  View help for JEL Classification
      D91 Micro-Based Behavioral Economics: Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
      H24 Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies; includes inheritance and gift taxes
      H26 Tax Evasion and Avoidance
      I38 Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty: Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
Geographic Coverage:  View help for Geographic Coverage California
Time Period(s):  View help for Time Period(s) 2018 – 2019 (Tax years 2017 and 2018)
Universe:  View help for Universe
Potential tax filers in California
Data Type(s):  View help for Data Type(s) program source code


Data Source:  View help for Data Source Administrative records from Franchise Tax Board and California Department of Social Services.
Unit(s) of Observation:  View help for Unit(s) of Observation Families, Individuals

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