Work Incentives and the Food Stamp Program
45 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 5 Apr 2021
Date Written: July 2010
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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