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The effects of cashing-out food stomps on household food use and the cost of issuing benefits

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Author Info

  • Thomas M. Fraker

    (Senior Economist, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., Washington)

  • Alberto P. Martini

    (Senior Research Associate, The Urban Institute, Washington)

  • James C. Ohls

    (Senior Fellow, Mathemalica Policy Research, Inc., Princeton)

  • Michael Ponza

    (Senior Economist, Mathematica Policy Research. Inc., Princeton)

Abstract

The recent report produced by Vice President Gore's committee on government efficiency highlights the importance of streamlining government operations. But often there are trade-offs between administrative streamlining and accomplishing substantive program objectives. This article examines these tradeoffs in the context of the Food Stamp Program, an important component of the United States' safety net for providing low-income assistance. We estimate impacts on both administrative costs and substantive outcomes (participant food expenditures) resulting from issuing program benefits in the form of checks rather than the usual food coupons. The findings, which are based on experimental tests of the cashout approach in parts of Alabama and California, suggest that significant cost savings can be attained through cashout but that these savings may be achieved at the cost of weakening the program's ability to achieve its substantive objective of encouraging food use.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.2307/3325031
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Volume (Year): 14 (1995)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 372-392

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:14:y:1995:i:3:p:372-392

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Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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  1. Thomas M. Fraker & Alberto P. Martini & James C. Ohls & Michael Ponza & Elizabeth A. Quinn, 1992. "The Evaluation of the Alabama Food Stamp Cash-out Demonstration. Vol. 1: Recipient Impacts," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 1206, Mathematica Policy Research.
  2. J. S. Butler & James C. Ohls & Barbara Posner, 1985. "The Effect of the Food Stamp Program on the Nutrient Intake of the Eligible Elderly," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(3), pages 405-420.
  3. Jim C. Ohls & Thomas M. Fraker & Alberto P. Martini & Michael Ponza, 1992. "The Effects of Cash-Out on Food Use by Food Stamp Program Participants in San Diego," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 1253, Mathematica Policy Research.
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Cited by:
  1. Andrea Brandolini & Silvia Magri & Timothy M. Smeeding, 2010. "Asset-based measurement of poverty," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 755, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  2. Lucie Schmidt & Lara Shore-Sheppard & Tara Watson, 2013. "The Effect of Safety Net Programs on Food Insecurity," NBER Working Papers 19558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Rachel Griffith & Sarah Smith & Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder, 2014. "Getting a healthy start? Nudge versus economic incentives," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 13/328, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  4. Bishop, John A. & Formby, John P. & Zeager, Lester A., 2000. "The effect of food stamp cashout on undernutrition," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 75-85, April.

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