Take-up of social assistance programs

Boosting Take-up of the Expanded Child Tax Credit

The expanded Child Tax Credit in 2021 was generous but suffered from low take-up among the lowest income families. We identify families who are likely eligible and experimentally helped them file taxes through VITA, the volunteer income tax assistance program. Preliminary results suggest that the assistance intervention nearly tripled the rate of filing through VITA but did not increase overall filing rates. This trial is registered in the AEA RCT registry (https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/8860).

An Evaluation of the Kansas Child Support Savings Initiative

The Kansas Child Support Savings Initiative allows parents who owe child support debt to pay off their debt by matching deposits into a 529 education saving account for their children with dollar-for-dollar debt reduction. Though generous, the program was experiencing low take-up. We conducted two randomized controlled trials to test whether information and transaction costs could be leading to low take-up. The impacts achieved were minimal and largely trivial.