The Effect of SNAP Work Mandates on Crime: Evidence from Ohio

Author:Collins, Jackson, EconomicsUniversity of Virginia

Work mandates are a contentious component of most welfare programs in the U.S., meant to decrease dependence on the programs. Yet there is insufficient literature on their effectiveness, particularly on salient social outcomes like crime. This paper uses variation from SNAP work mandate waivers in Ohio to evaluate their effect on crime with a fixed effects model. Results indicate that work mandates have strong crime-reducing effects, robust to model specification. The broad nature of the estimates also mask heterogeneity in their distribution among poverty level. Separating effects by poverty level and creating a “crime elasticity of SNAP cases” metric shows that
offenses are less sensitive to work mandates at higher levels of poverty. Finally, I create an interval with available statistics to estimate that TOT effects could be anywhere from 4.5-7.7x larger than the observed ITT.

Applied Economics, SNAP, Poverty, Work Requirements, Work Mandates, Ohio
University of Virginia
Published Date:
June 27, 2020