In September 2021, Elizabeth Ananat, Barnard’s Mallya Professor of Women and Economics, published new work, along with Columbia affiliates Zachary Parolin, Sophie M. Collyer, Megan Curran, and Christopher Wimer, on the National Bureau of Economic Research website.
In the article, titled “The Initial Effects of the Expanded Child Tax Credit on Material Hardship,” the authors examine the expansion of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and its implications for low-income American families. Using data from the Census Household Pulse Survey collected over several months, the research team conducted a series of difference-in-difference estimates, which are the difference in average outcome in the treatment group before and after treatment minus the difference in average outcome in the control group before and after treatment. The authors used this information to investigate the impact of these tax credits.
Ananat and her team found that for low-income families with young children, these payments significantly reduce food insufficiency. While this research suggests that the distribution of these tax credits may be imperfect — leaving many low-income families waiting longer to receive their payments — the payments that do arrive provide significant assistance for families with young children experiencing food insufficiency.