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Did Recent Medicaid Reforms Cause the Caseload Explosion in the Food Stamp Program?

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  • Aaron S. Yelowitz

    (UCLA)

Abstract

I examine whether changes in Medicaid eligibility for young children can help explain the caseload growth in the Food Stamp program between 1987 and 1995. Medicaid may increase food stamp participation through increased awareness about other welfare benefits. It could also reduce earnings through perverse labor supply incentives, thereby increasing food stamp participation. The Medicaid expansions enacted during the 1980s offer a unique opportunity to examine empirically Medicaid's interaction with the Food Stamp program because they conditioned eligibility on the age of the child. Households with ineligible children (based on the child's age) serve as a control group to isolate Medicaid's effect. They help to eliminate many other plausible explanations for the rise in food stamp participation, including economic fluctuations at the state and national levels. I use the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to tackle this question. It shows evidence that expanding Medicaid eligibility increased food stamp participation. The effect is quite modest, however. The expansions explain less than 10 percent of the growth in food stamps, substantially smaller than previous estimates. Moreover, its effect on food stamp participation comes entirely through increased program awareness, rather than from any change in labor supply.
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Suggested Citation

  • Aaron S. Yelowitz, 1996. "Did Recent Medicaid Reforms Cause the Caseload Explosion in the Food Stamp Program?," UCLA Economics Working Papers 756, UCLA Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:cla:uclawp:756
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    1. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
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    11. Aaron S. Yelowitz, 1995. "The Medicaid Notch, Labor Supply, and Welfare Participation: Evidence from Eligibility Expansions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(4), pages 909-939.
    12. Rebecca M. Blank & Patricia Ruggles, 1996. "When Do Women Use Aid to Families with Dependent Children and Food Stamps? The Dynamics of Eligibility Versus Participation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 57-89.
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    Cited by:

    1. Katherine Baicker & Amy Finkelstein & Jae Song & Sarah Taubman, 2013. "The Impact of Medicaid on Labor Force Activity and Program Participation: Evidence from the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment," NBER Working Papers 19547, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Jonathan Gruber & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2002. "Health Insurance, Labor Supply, and Job Mobility: A Critical Review of the Literature," JCPR Working Papers 255, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    3. Baicker, Katherine, 2001. "Government decision-making and the incidence of federal mandates," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 147-194, November.
    4. Lemieux, Thomas & MacLeod, W. Bentley, 2000. "Supply side hysteresis: the case of the Canadian unemployment insurance system," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 139-170, October.
    5. Jonathan Gruber, 1998. "Health Insurance and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 6762, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Brigitte C. Madrian, 2005. "The U.S. health care system and labor markets," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 50(Jun), pages 137-163.
    7. Jeehoon Han, 2016. "SNAP Expansions and Participation in Government Safety Net Programs," 2016 Papers pha1139, Job Market Papers.
    8. Janet Currie & Aaron S. Yelowitz, 1998. "Public Housing and Labor Supply," JCPR Working Papers 52, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    9. Janet Currie & Firouz Gahvari, 2008. "Transfers in Cash and In-Kind: Theory Meets the Data," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 333-383, June.
    10. repec:mrr:papers:wp341 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Henry S. Farber, 2005. "Comments on Madrian’s “The U.S. Health Care System and Labor Markets”," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 50(Jun), pages 165-172.

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