Snapping Back: Food Stamp Bans and Criminal Recidivism

99 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2016 Last revised: 16 Apr 2018

Cody Tuttle

University of Maryland, College Park

Date Written: March 29, 2018

Abstract

I estimate the effect of access to Food Stamps on criminal recidivism. In 1996, a federal welfare reform imposed a lifetime ban from Food Stamps on convicted drug felons. Florida modified this ban, restricting it to drug traffickers who commit their offense on or after August 23, 1996. I exploit this sharp cutoff in a regression discontinuity design and find that the ban increases recidivism among drug traffickers. The increase is driven by financially motivated crimes, suggesting that the cut in benefits causes ex-convicts to return to crime to make up for the lost transfer income.

Keywords: Recidivism, Welfare Ban, SNAP, Food Stamps, Labor Supply

JEL Classification: K42, I38

Suggested Citation

Tuttle, Cody, Snapping Back: Food Stamp Bans and Criminal Recidivism (March 29, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2845435 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2845435

Cody Tuttle (Contact Author)

University of Maryland, College Park ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States

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