Author's School

Brown School of Social Work

Author's Department/Program

Social Work


English (en)

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Michael Sherraden


EITC refunds are often substantial sums of money entering households of working families each year. Many households use the EITC to meet their basic needs such as rent, utilities, food, groceries, clothing, and other household expenses. Other EITC recipients view the tax system as a savings mechanism. This is the first study of how the EITC is being used among Native populations. Study data includes 9,482 household surveys collected in over 80 urban, rural, and reservation communities across the U.S. Surveys were completed by EITC eligible households, both Native and non-Native in tax years 2005 - 2008. Results from this study suggest that EITC recipients first allocate their refund dollars to basic needs. However, once these needs are met, many will choose to save their EITC dollars. Factors associated with increased odds of saving include an established savings habit, bank account ownership, direct deposit, and financial education.


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