NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Work Incentives and the Food Stamp Program

Hilary Williamson Hoynes, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

NBER Working Paper No. 16198
Issued in July 2010
NBER Program(s):   CH   LS   PE

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16198

Published: Hoynes, Hilary Williamson & Schanzenbach, Diane Whitmore, 2012. "Work incentives and the Food Stamp Program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 151-162.

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