Work Incentives and the Food Stamp Program

45 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 5 Apr 2021

See all articles by Hilary Williamson Hoynes

Hilary Williamson Hoynes

University of California, Berkeley; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

Northwestern University - School of Education and Social Policy; NBER

Date Written: July 2010

Abstract

Labor supply theory makes strong predictions about how the introduction of a social welfare program impacts work effort. Although there is a large literature on the work incentive effects of AFDC and the EITC, relatively little is known about the work incentive effects of the Food Stamp Program and none of the existing literature is based on quasi-experimental methods. We use the cross-county introduction of the program in the 1960s and 1970s to estimate the impact of the program on the extensive and intensive margins of labor supply, earnings, and family cash income. Consistent with theory, we find modest reductions in employment and hours worked when food stamps are introduced. The results are larger for single-parent families.

Suggested Citation

Hoynes, Hilary Williamson and Schanzenbach, Diane Whitmore, Work Incentives and the Food Stamp Program (July 2010). NBER Working Paper No. w16198, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1641574

Hilary Williamson Hoynes (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

Northwestern University - School of Education and Social Policy ( email )

Evanston, IL
United States

NBER ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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