Food Stamps, Unemployment Insurance and the Safety Net - Daniel Schroeder

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Food Stamps, Unemployment Insurance and the Saftey Net
Principal Investigator: Daniel Schroeder
Sponsor: Joint Center for Poverty Research, Food Assistance Research Small Grants Program
Project Duration: July 2005 - December 2006

Legislative reforms in the food stamp and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs in the 1990s, together with a booming economy and the Earned Income Tax Credit, led to dramatic increases in employment among single mothers and smaller increases among other low-income families. The deterioration of the economy after 2000, however, has raised again the question of the adequacy of the safety net for nonworking families. This study will examine the extent of support from government programs, especially food stamps, among nonworking families, but with a focus on a program that has not received much research attention: the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program.

The UI program is of interest because the increases in employment among disadvantaged families in the 1990s should have been expected to increase eligibility for benefits. This, in turn, may have led to greater receipt of UI in the recent downturn and to less reliance on food stamps, given that the latter program is also aimed, in part, at serving unemployed families during downturns. The researchers will use an administrative data set from the state of Texas containing information on food stamp, TANF, and UI recipients over the period 1996 to 2005 to investigate these questions.

The study will document the incidence of different kinds of assistance receipt, especially during the downturn, giving particular attention to the relationship between food stamps and UI benefits (how many individuals receive one but not the other, both, neither); will estimate event history models to determine whether receipt of UI leads to reduced entry and increased exit from the food stamp program; will examine how the nature of food stamp and UI spells changed as the Texas economy moved from expansion to recession to recovery; and will estimate the effects of such receipts on income from earnings, UI, and welfare.

Reports Available:

Food Stamps, Unemployment Insurance, and the Safety Net
Author: Daniel Schroeder
Date: May 2007
Publisher: The Harris School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago
Publication Type: Final Report. 43pp. (Harris School Working Paper Series 07.15)
Ray Marshall Center

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