The American Economic Association's registry for randomized controlled trials
Paycheck Plus NYC
Last registered on April 21, 2016
View Trial History
Paycheck Plus NYC
Initial registration date
April 20, 2016
April 21, 2016 2:05 PM EDT
United States of America
New York City
Contact Primary Investigator
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
The gap between high- and low-income Americans has widened dramatically over the past 30 years, and men without high school degrees saw their earnings fall by 20 percent between 1990 and 2013. Earnings for women with similar levels of education fell by 12 percent. One proposal to address this erosion of income for low-wage workers has been to expand the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which supplements the earnings of families by as much as $6,000 a year. But the federal EITC for single tax filers, which is capped at a maximum annual payment of only $487, is much less generous and as a result less effective at increasing employment and reducing poverty. The Paycheck Plus demonstration is testing the effects of a more generous EITC-like earnings supplement for low-income single adults in New York City, in which the credit for workers without children is increased to $2,000 and extended to provide benefits to workers earning up to $30,000 per year, with the maximum payment being made to those with earnings between $6,667 and $18,000. The pilot test in New York City includes about 6,000 participants, with 3,000 eligible to receive the expanded credit and 3,000 forming a control group.
Katz, Lawrence and Cynthia Miller. 2016. "Paycheck Plus NYC." AEA RCT Registry. April 21.
Sponsors & Partners
The evaluation will test the potential impact of an enhanced Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on income, employment, and earnings for participating single adults. Paycheck Plus will simulate an enhanced EITC but will not offer an actual tax credit nor operate through the city, state, or federal tax systems. The pilot program will mimic the income tax filing process by having participants present their completed annual tax forms to claim the enhanced credit.
The demonstration will offer up to $2,000 a year over a three-year period to participants with earnings of up to nearly $30,000 per year, with the maximum payment being made to those with earnings between $6,667 and $18,000. The pilot test in New York City includes about 6,000 participants, with 3,000 eligible to receive the expanded credit and 3,000 forming a control group.
Enrollment in New York City was conducted at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites across the city staffed by the project’s operations partner, Food Bank For New York City (FBNYC). A range of other agencies also served as recruitment and referral partners, with FBNYC staff members either conducting enrollment there or referring eligible participants to one of the VITA sites.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Income, earnings, poverty, child-support payments, criminal-justice-system involvement, and family formation.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
The evaluation of Paycheck Plus uses a random assignment research design, with a program group who is eligible to receive the expanded credit and a control group who is not. Individuals in the program group in each city will be eligible for the credit payments for three years. In New York, individuals can receive the credit for earnings in tax years 2014, 2015, and 2016. In Atlanta, individuals can receive the credit for earnings in tax years 2016, 2017, and 2018. Both research groups in each city will be tracked for up to four years to determine the effects of the expanded credit on income, earnings, poverty, child-support payments, criminal-justice-system involvement, and family formation.
Enrollment in New York City was conducted at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites across the city staffed by the project’s operations partner, Food Bank For New York City (FBNYC). A range of other agencies also served as recruitment and referral partners, with FBNYC staff members either conducting enrollment there or referring eligible participants to one of the VITA sites. Enrollment in Atlanta is being conducted by that city’s operations partner, United Way of Greater Atlanta, with assistance from several other agencies and referral partners.
Data sources will include a baseline survey, a participant survey at 32 months after random assignment, tax data from participating VITA sites, and administrative records covering unemployment insurance earnings and child-support payments and orders.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization conducted by enrollment staff via computer.
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
3,000 individuals control, 3,000 individuals eligible to receive expanded treatment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Is public data available?
Reports and Papers