The model we use also has the ability to apply alternative eligibility rules and provide an estimate of the number of children who would be eligible under alternative rules, that is, an alternative simulation. The alternative rules could involve different income thresholds, different job requirements, or the entire set of rules from another year.
We use an alternative simulation to answer this question: given an identical sample of children and families, are 2011 state eligibility rules more or less generous compared to 2009 rules? Within our model, 2009 state eligibility rules (inflated to 2011 dollars) were applied to 2011 CPS data, resulting in a simulated 9.0 million children eligible. Recall that when 2011 state eligibility rules were applied to 2011 CPS data, the result was 8.4 million children eligible. Thus, state rules appear to be somewhat less generous in 2011 compared to 2009; fewer children are eligible under the 2011 rules. This likely results from a combination of state rules not keeping pace with inflation and state rules being changed to reduce the number of children eligible.