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The national evaluation of the food stamp employment and training program


  • Michael J. Puma

    (Managing Vice President of Abt Associates Inc., Bethesda, MD)

  • Nancy R. Burstein

    (Senior Economist at Abt Associates Inc., Cambridge, MA)


This article reports the results of the national evaluation of the Food Stamp Employment and Training (E&T) Program, based on an experimental study involving over 13,000 program participants in 53 separate local food stamp agencies. The story told by these findings begins with the types of individuals who participated in the E&T Program in FY 1988. Nearly 70 percent did not have children (removing this barrier to finding employment), and about half were single, highly mobile adults living alone. Most received no public assistance other than food stamps. For the most part, then, these were individuals who needed to work-food stamp benefits are not intended to meet total subsistence needs. It would, therefore, be expected that most of the E&T participants would be looking for work (whether or not they were successful) in the absence of E&T requirements. Next, it is apparent that large numbers of E&T participants did not engage in employment or training services in FY 1988. As currently structured, beyond imposing the obligation to meet the requirements of E&T, the program failed to provide any actual services to about half of those deemed eligible to participate. For the most part, the services received by E&T participants consisted primarily of referral to individual job search. In the absence of E&T, many of the individuals currently targeted by the program were able to obtain similar referrals on their own. Consequently, it is not surprising, that E&T was found to have no effect on participants' employment and earnings, and only a relatively small effect on average food stamp benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael J. Puma & Nancy R. Burstein, 1994. "The national evaluation of the food stamp employment and training program," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(2), pages 311-330.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:13:y:1994:i:2:p:311-330
    DOI: 10.2307/3325016

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gueron, Judith M, 1990. "Work and Welfare: Lessons on Employment Programs," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 79-98, Winter.
    2. Burt S. Barnow, 1987. "The Impact of CETA Programs on Earnings: A Review of the Literature," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(2), pages 157-193.
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    Cited by:

    1. Burt S. Barnow & Jeffrey Smith, 2015. "Employment and Training Programs," NBER Chapters,in: Economics of Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, volume 2, pages 127-234 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Robert Kornfeld & Howard S. Bloom, 1997. "Measuring Program Impacts On Earnings and Employment," JCPR Working Papers 11, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    3. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.

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