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Elaine Maag
Senior Fellow
Codirector, Innovations in Cash Assistance for Children
Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center
  • Profile
  • Outside Affiliations
  • The tax system can be a powerful tool to improve economic well-being for many. It is essential that it be designed in a way that is easy to access and administer.

    Elaine Maag is on leave from the Urban Institute and Tax Policy Center from December 2023 to January 2025.

    Elaine Maag is a senior fellow in the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute and a codirector of Innovations in Cash Assistance for Children. She is an expert on the taxation of low- and middle-income families. Her work examines the interactions between tax and transfer programs, the impact of cash supports, how well taxes support families, and the administration of tax and transfer programs.

    Maag has testified before state and federal congressional committees and advised congressional staff members and administration officials on the taxation of families with children and on higher education and work incentives in the tax code. Maag codirected the creation of the Net Income Change Calculator, a tool that allows users to understand the trade-offs between tax and transfer benefits and changes in earnings or marital status. 

    Before joining Urban, Maag worked at the Internal Revenue Service and at the Government Accountability Office as a presidential management fellow.

    Maag holds an MS in public policy analysis from the University of Rochester.

    Maag is a board member of the Commonwealth Institute (Virginia), a member of the Code for America Tax Benefits Advisory Committee, and a member of the Humanity Forward Policy Council.

    Research Areas
    Children and youth
    Economic mobility and inequality
    Taxes and budgets
    Social safety net
    Taxes and social policy
    Earned income tax credit
    Child care subsidies
    Child care
    Children's budget
    Student parents
    Child Tax Credit
    Economic well-being
    Families with low incomes
    Individual taxes
    Spending on children

    Outside Affiliations
    Commonwealth Institute
    Vice-Chair, Board of Directors
    Code for America
    Member of the Tax Benefits Advisory Committee
    Humanity Forward Policy Council
    National Academy of Social Insurance

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