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Selected Publications

Work Incentives and the Food Stamp Program

Hoynes, Hilary Williamson., and Diane Schanzenbach. “Work Incentives and the Food Stamp Program.” Journal of Public Economics 96(1-2): 151-62, 2012.


Labor supply theory makes strong predictions about how the introduction or expansion 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 reductions in employment and hours worked when food stamps are introduced. The reductions are concentrated among families headed by single woman.

Additional Information

Media: Washington Post, Bloomberg

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Published Article

Earlier Draft (NBER Working Paper No. 16198)