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Evidence for the Role of State-Level Economic Policy in HIV Risk Reduction: State Earned Income Tax Credit Generosity and HIV Risk Behavior Among Single Mothers


We investigated the impact of State-level Earned Income Tax Credit (SEITC) generosity on HIV risk behavior among single mothers with low education. We merged individual-level data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (2002-2018) with state-level data from the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research and conducted a multi-state, multi-year difference-in-differences (DID) analysis. We found that a refundable SEITC ≥ 10% of the Federal Earned Income Tax Credit was associated with 21% relative risk reduction in reporting any high-risk behavior for HIV in the last year, relative to no SEITC. We also found that a 10-percentage point increase in SEITC generosity was associated with 38% relative risk reduction in reporting any high-risk HIV behavior in the last year. SEITC policy may be an important strategy to reduce the burden of HIV infections among women with low socioeconomic status, particularly single mothers.

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