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Local Labor Demand and Program Participation Dynamics: Evidence from New York SNAP Administrative Records


  • Scherpf, Erik
  • Cerf, Benjamin


This study estimates the effect of fluctuations in local labor conditions on the likelihood that existing participants are able to transition out of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Our primary data are SNAP administrative records from New York (2007–2012) linked to the 2010 Census at the person-level. We further augment these data by linking to industry-specific labor market indicators at the county-level. We find that local labor markets matter for the length of time individuals spend on SNAP, but there is substantial heterogeneity in estimated effects across local industries. While employment growth in industries with small shares of SNAP participants has no impact on SNAP exits, growth in local industries with high shares of SNAP participants, especially food service and retail, significantly increases the likelihood that recipients exit the program. We also observe corresponding increases in entries when these industries experience localized contractions. Notably, estimated industry effects vary across race groups and parental status, with Black Alone non-Hispanic, Hispanic, and mothers benefiting the least from improvements in local labor market conditions. Our models include county fixed effects and time trends, and our results are identified by detrended within-county variation in local labor market conditions. We confirm that our results are not driven by endogenous inter-county mobility, New York City labor markets, or cohort composition effects associated with the Great Recession.

Suggested Citation

  • Scherpf, Erik & Cerf, Benjamin, 2017. "Local Labor Demand and Program Participation Dynamics: Evidence from New York SNAP Administrative Records," OSF Preprints q559t, Center for Open Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:osf:osfxxx:q559t
    DOI: 10.31219/

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    1. Martin H. David & Christopher R. Bollinger, 2005. "I didn't tell, and I won't tell: dynamic response error in the SIPP," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(4), pages 563-569.
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    9. Cody, Scott & Gleason, Phil & Schechter, Bruce & Satake, Miki & Sykes, Julie, 2005. "Food Stamp Program Entry and Exit: An Analysis of Participation Trends in the 1990s," Contractor and Cooperator Reports 291980, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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    Cited by:

    1. Justine S. Hastings & Ryan E. Kessler & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2019. "The Effect of SNAP on the Composition of Purchased Foods: Evidence and Implications," NBER Working Papers 25953, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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