Employed in a SNAP? The Impact of Work Requirements on Program Participation and Labor Supply

85 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2020 Last revised: 15 Sep 2020

See all articles by Colin Gray

Colin Gray

Wayfair LLC

Adam Leive

University of Virginia

Elena Prager

Northwestern University

Kelsey Pukelis

Harvard Kennedy School

Mary Zaki

University of Maryland - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics

Date Written: August 18, 2020

Abstract

Work requirements are common in many U.S. safety net programs. Evidence remains limited, however, on the extent to which work requirements increase economic self-sufficiency or screen out vulnerable individuals. Using linked administrative data on food stamps (SNAP) and earnings with a regression discontinuity design, we find that work requirements reduce SNAP participation by 52 percent. Very low-income and homeless adults are disproportionately screened out. We statistically rule out employment increases of more than 2 percentage points. We find evidence of increased earnings near a key eligibility threshold, and provide conditions under which this trade-off is efficient.

Keywords: food stamps; work requirements; screening

JEL Classification: H53, I30, I38, J22

Suggested Citation

Gray, Colin and Leive, Adam and Prager, Elena and Pukelis, Kelsey and Zaki, Mary, Employed in a SNAP? The Impact of Work Requirements on Program Participation and Labor Supply (August 18, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3676722 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3676722

Colin Gray

Wayfair LLC ( email )

4 Copley Place
Floor 7
Boston, MA 02116

Adam Leive (Contact Author)

University of Virginia ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

Elena Prager

Northwestern University ( email )

2211 Campus Dr
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Kelsey Pukelis

Harvard Kennedy School ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://kelseypukelis.com

Mary Zaki

University of Maryland - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics ( email )

2200 Symons Hall
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.terpconnect.umd.edu/~mzaki/

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