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date: 16 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter highlights two policies that supplement the earnings of low-wage workers: the federal minimum wage and the earned income tax credit (EITC). The need for earnings supplements arises in part from the nature of the jobs held by less-skilled, low-wage workers. Such jobs are likely to be compensated on an hourly basis, not salaried, and are less likely to be full time. A focus on the minimum wage and the EITC contributes to—and expands our understanding of—the American welfare state in two ways. First, it looks beyond social insurance and public assistance, which have been considered the main tools of social policy, to explore the importance of alternative antipoverty policies. Second, it moves beyond income support to nonworkers to focus on efforts to support individuals who are active in the labor market.

Keywords: earned income tax credit (EITC), federal minimum wage, anti-poverty policies, low-wage workers, earnings supplements

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