Job Market Paper

"Suddenly Married: Joint Taxation and the Labor Supply of Same-Sex Married Couples After U.S. v. Windsor"

   The last twenty years have seen major political and legal battles over the issue of same-sex marriage, marked by a substantial victory for supporters in the United States v. Windsor Supreme Court ruling. Same-sex couples who had already married by the time of the ruling had previously filed federal tax returns as two single individuals due to the Defense of Marriage Act, but beginning in tax year 2013 they were required to file as married. I compare same-sex married couples to a control group of opposite-sex married couples, and exploit variation in federal tax rates and liabilities to first ask whether joint taxation affects hours worked and labor force participation, and, secondly, to separate the income and substitution effects of taxation. Among predicted higher earners, I estimate a compensated (Hicksian) hours elasticity of 0.463 and a compensated participation elasticity of 0.210. Among predicted lower earners, I estimate a compensated hours elasticity of 0.357 and a compensated participation elasticity of 0.423. These results are robust to a number of alternative specifications and sample selection criteria.

Working papers

"Marriage, Divorce, and Tax and Transfer Policy"

   I use variation from the 1990s in the Earned Income Tax Credit and welfare reform to estimate the effects on marrying and divorcing. I examine flows into and out of marriage, use test scores to predict who is most likely to be affected by the policy changes, and employ a flexible functional form to estimate heterogeneous effects. I find that low-earning single parents are more likely to marry due to the EITC expansion and lower welfare generosity, while mid-earning married parents are less likely to divorce and high-earning married parents are more likely to divorce due to the EITC expansion.

Works in progress

"The Effect of Marriage Among Children Born to Unmarried Mothers"