Exploring the stigma of food stamps
AbstractThis paper reports on theoretical research into the effect of stigma and social norms on policy outcomes of the Food Stamp program, in particular the effect on the caseload. As a general rule, it is impossible to predict whether norms will amplify or dampen the response of caseloads to any given policy intervention. Sometimes they have an effect, sometimes they do not. Much depends on whether the norms themselves change very much in response to policy changes. Social feedback (each norm violation encourages more violations) makes policy predictions uncertain. It can translate very small shocks into very large changes in the caseload. Norm systems can collapse abruptly. Norms can alleviate administrative problems involving targeting, since norms can define "true need" in a social sense and allow all of the truly needy to claim benefits. Eligible nonparticipants are viewed as "not needy" in the social sense, though they may be needy according to objective criteria. Norms may also lessen a program's incentive effects (against work, for example). Norms may exacerbate administrative problems involving resource availability. To the extent that program eligibility differs from socially defined need, the program will be unpopular. Norms also add considerable uncertainty to the environment of policy planning and execution. Policymakers who hope to reduce the influence of stigma on program resources and administration should consider localizing program eligibility rules, so that the rules correspond more closely to social definitions of need. Intense, broad-based local outreach efforts may also reduce stigma's power.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty in its series Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers with number 1097-96.
Date of creation:
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: 3412 Social Science Building, 1180 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706
Phone: (608) 262-6358
Fax: (608) 265-3119
Web page: http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/irp/dp/dplist.htm
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Fraker, Thomas & Moffitt, Robert, 1988. "The effect of food stamps on labor supply : A bivariate selection model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 25-56, February.
- Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1992.
"Understanding welfare stigma: Taxpayer resentment and statistical discrimination,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 165-183, July.
- Besley, T. & Coate, S., 1990. "Understanding Welfare Stigma: Taxpayer Resentment And Statistical Discrimination," Papers 42, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
- Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-35, December.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Krichel).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.