The Decline, Rebound, and Further Rise in Snap Enrollment: Disentangling Business Cycle Fluctuations and Policy Changes
47 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2019 Last revised: 10 Jul 2019
Date Written: April 7, 2017
1-in-7 Americans received benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in 2011, an all-time high. We analyze changes in program enrollment over the past two decades, quantifying the contributions of unemployment and state policy changes. Using instrumental variables to address measurement error, we estimate that a one percentage point increase in unemployment raises enrollment by 15 percent. Unemployment explains most of the decrease in enrollment in the late 1990s, state policy changes explain more of the increase in enrollment in the early 2000s, and unemployment explains most of the increase in enrollment in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
Keywords: SNAP, Food Stamps, Great Recession, Unemployment
JEL Classification: E24, E62, H53, I38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation