The Effect of Food Stamps on Adult Labor Supply and Health Outcomes

Publication Date


Grant Type

Early Career Research Award


Policy changes in the 1990s dramatically altered the landscape of the safety net in the U.S. As a result, the Food Stamp program has become one of the largest safety net programs and is increasingly important for individuals; 15% of individuals received Food Stamps in 2011 (Moffitt, 2013).1 Critics of the program argue it reduces the incentive to work, while supporters argue it boosts families’ resources in times of need, potentially also improving nutritional and health outcomes. The effects of the program on these outcomes are largely unknown, however, because it is a federal program with little variation in benefit amounts or eligibility rules. This project will use a large, recent source of quasi-experimental variation–changes in documented immigrants’ eligibility across states and over time from 1996 to 2003–to estimate the effect of Food Stamps on adults’ labor supply and health outcomes in the short and long-run.

Grant Product

An Apple a Day? Adult Food Stamp Eligibility and Health Care Utilization among Immigrants
Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 19-295, 2019