Employed in a SNAP? The Impact of Work Requirements on Program Participation and Labor Supply
Work requirements are common in 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 robust evidence that work requirements increase program exits by 23 percentage points (64 percent) among incumbent participants after 18 months. There is a 53 percent overall reduction in program participation among adults who are subject to work requirements. Homeless adults are disproportionately screened out. We find no effects on employment, and suggestive evidence of increased earnings in some specifications. Our findings indicate that, per dollar of public expenditure, eliminating work requirements would likely transfer more resources to low-income adults than other programs targeting the same population.
Colin Gray & Adam Leive & Elena Prager & Kelsey Pukelis & Mary Zaki, 2023. "Employed in a SNAP? The Impact of Work Requirements on Program Participation and Labor Supply," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, vol 15(1), pages 306-341.