Policy Microsimulations

This special project consists of timely briefs on live federal policy debates about changes to taxes and transfers.

Microsimulation is a commonly used tool in policy analysis to examine the poverty, distributional, and cost implications of changes to taxes and transfers. It allows us to explore the implications of benefit design (e.g. phase-ins and phase-outs) and financing choices. Although not set up to look at general equilibrium effects like a true macroeconomic model, a microsimulation gives insight into the initial, “gross” impact of a policy change.

Our initial microsimulation work focuses on the Child Tax Credit and variations, with new rounds of policy-relevant analysis to come.

Artwork: Nine patch variation with bars by Carrie Severt with photograph by Lyntha Scott Eiler.

In This Series

CTC Analysis Part 1

Assessing Non-filer Rates & Poverty Impacts for the American Rescue Plan Act’s Expanded CTC

A microsimulation of child poverty impacts and analysis of how to reach eligible non-filers for maximum poverty impacts

CTC Analysis Part 2

Reducing Refundability of the Child Tax Credit: Assessing Poverty Impacts and Trade-offs

A microsimulation brief finding that proposals to limit the refundability of the Child Tax Credit would increase child poverty by 53 percent, along with other trade-offs

CTC Analysis Part 3

Analysis of Full Refundability of the Child Tax Credit Without Expansion

Recent reports indicate that the Build Back Better legislative package will allow the increased Child Tax Credit value to continue for one year, while making its full refundability provision permanent; JFI researchers simulate the effects on poverty, costs, and racial equity

CTC Analysis Part 4

Memo: Cost Simulations of a Fully-Refundable Child Tax Credit (CTC) 2022-2031

Jack Landry and Stephen Nuñez publish ten-year CTC full refundability estimates, illustrating compromise proposals that retain CTC poverty impacts with space for other social programs

CTC Analysis Part 5

The Expanded Child Tax Credit and Parental Employment: Tenuous Evidence Points to Work Disincentives

Some academics and policymakers argue that the expanded Child Tax Credit will disincentive work; this report points out the weak evidence base for parents quitting work

CTC Analysis Part 6

Revisiting the Child Tax Credit for the Lame Duck Session: Comparing Parameters for Anti-Poverty Impacts

JFI researchers review recent CTC proposals and simulate the effects of varying key reforms that increase the policy's anti-poverty impacts, parameters which will likely feature in lame-duck negotiations.

CTC Analysis Part 7

The Impact of Families with No Income on an Expanded Child Tax Credit

Breaking down the benefits of the expanded CTC by income group.

CTC Analysis Part 8

Bipartisan Child Tax Credit Expansion: Analysis of the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024

Congressional tax negotiators have announced an agreement to expand the Child Tax Credit (CTC). The proposal significantly increases benefits for low-income families currently eligible for a partial CTC.

CTC Analysis Part 9

Responding To the Bipartisan Child Tax Credit Expansion Critics: The Tenuous Evidence Behind Work Disincentives

This report attempts to explain comprehensively why objections to the CTC reforms on the grounds of disincentivizing work are mistaken.

CTC Analysis Part 10

The Tax Liability Red Herring: Defending Child Tax Credit Reforms

Analysis responding to the latest Congressional debates: Insisting CTC improvements go to families who have federal tax liability would ensure benefits do not reach most low-income families.

Recent Updates