Changes in the Dynamics of Joint Participation in SNAP and UI Following the Great Recession
April 7, 2014 10:00 AM
This week's featured paper from the Online Paper Collection was originally presented in the session What Can Panel Data Tell Us About Participation in Federal Food Assistance Programs During the Great Recession? during the 2013 Fall Research Conference. Supported from Both Sides? Changes in the Dynamics of Joint Participation in SNAP and UI Following the Great Recession, by Alix Gould-Werth and H. Luke Shaefer from the University of Michigan, uses panel data from the national representative Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) from years 2000-2011, to examine changes in the prevalence and character of joint participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Unemployment Insurance (UI) among job losers during the Great Recession.
Descriptive statistics examining changes following the onset of the Great Recession indicate heightened use of UI/SNAP, a change in the sequencing of program entrance with joint participants becoming less likely to access SNAP first, and the composition of the group joint participants becoming more advantaged across a range of demographic characteristics.
The authors' multivariate results suggest that the extended length of unemployment spells following the onset of the Great Recession drives much of the increase in joint participation. The extension of UI benefits and the liberalization of SNAP eligibility requirements account for the remaining increase in joint participation. These results suggest that our safety net programs have been responsive to a changed macroeconomic context and changing needs of the target populations of UI and SNAP. However, the fact that following the on set of the recession the demographic characteristics of joint participants reflect a
more advantaged population--while other research demonstrates that the bulk of those experiencing unemployment following the Great Recession are less advantaged--suggests that, in terms of joint participation, the safety net is most flexible in responding to the needs of its more advantaged constituents.
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