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Immigrants’ labor supply response to Food Stamp access

Chloe East

Labour Economics, 2018, vol. 51, issue C, 202-226

Abstract: Welfare reform in 1996 created a new, large disparity in Food Stamp eligibility between documented non-citizen immigrants and natives. Subsequent policies restored eligibility for most of these immigrants at different times in different states, and I use these changes to estimate the effect of program access on the labor supply of immigrants–a policy-relevant population. The Food Stamp program is one of the largest safety net programs today, and my analysis provides one of the first quasi-experimental estimates of the effects of the modern Food Stamp program on adult labor supply. I find strong evidence of labor supply disincentives, and the magnitude and margin of this response varies across demographic groups. Access to the program reduces the employment rates of single women by about 6%, whereas married men continue to work but reduce their hours of work by 5%. These findings confirm the predictions of traditional labor supply theory regarding the response to a means-tested program.

Keywords: Food Stamps; Labor supply (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I38 J22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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