- Timothy M. Smeeding, Julia B. Isaacs, Joanna Y. Marks, and Katherine Thornton
- December 2010
- Link to FF7-2010-rev (PDF)
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 contained temporary policy changes to offset or lessen the negative effects of the economic recession. These policies included provisions increasing refundable tax credits for families and larger nutrition assistance benefits for those enrolled in the program. In this brief, the authors analyze the effect of the tax and nutrition assistance portions of the ARRA on poverty in Wisconsin, using a broader, more complete measure of poverty developed at IRP. Under the Wisconsin Poverty Measure, we can observe how the existence of refundable tax credits and non-cash benefits (particularly nutrition assistance) serves to reduce poverty, even before the enactment of the ARRA. This brief demonstrates that the 2009 expansions of the safety net under the ARRA helped mitigate poverty even more than the existing tax credit and nutritional assistance programs extant in 2008. The effect was greatest on families with children, in accordance with the design of the policy changes.