The purpose of this study was to understand earned income tax credit (EITC) policy influences on the development of economic mobility for individuals receiving EITC. Policymakers have declared that improving the economic mobility of low-wage workers a major objective of the EITC. This study addressed identifying factors that contribute to economic mobility, and testing the punctuated equilibrium theory to determine whether exogenous forces influence EITC policymakers' decisions. Utilizing the survey data of 2,252 EITC respondents from the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, California, the study found that saving, education, race, and being banked were factors contributing to economic mobility. Age was not a factor contributing to economic mobility. Results from testing the punctuated equilibrium theory indicated that at the .05 level there was not a significant association between exogenous forces and EITC policymaking decisions.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Earned income tax credit -- United States; Working class -- United States; Income distribution -- United States

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Rhodes, Kent;