The goal of this dissertation is to contribute to better understanding the role of various public policies in shaping opportunities, incentives and ultimately economic decisions at the individual and household level. The four independent research papers that constitute the thesis employ microeconometric methods to explore causal relationships between policy interventions, household consumption and labor supply, with a particular interest in low-income households. Chapters one and two both focus on the effects of minimum wages among groups exhibiting lower skills than those present in the average population: teens and the non-employed, respectively. Chapter three investigates the work incentives inherent in tax-benefit systems across 12 countries of the European Union and how these incentives influence labor supply decisions on the extensive margin. Chapter four considers the effect of an in-kind benefit, namely the availability of public health insurance, on household medical spending and consumption.