Snapping Back: Food Stamp Bans and Criminal Recidivism
97 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2016 Last revised: 31 Dec 2018
Date Written: June 12, 2018
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: Suggested Citation