Encouraging and strengthening marriage continues to move up the US's social policy agenda. This analysis uses nationally representative data on cohabiting couples with children from the 2002 round of the National Survey of America's Families (NSAF) to assess the actual marriage penalties or bonuses facing these couples. In addition to examining the consequences of current (2003) federal tax laws, it also assesses the incentives that will be in place in 2008 as the final marriage-related provisions of 2001's tax reform are phased-in. The paper incorporates potential changes in transfer income received through welfare in assessing marriage penalties and bonuses for low-income cohabiting couples with children. (Author abstract)
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