University of Wisconsin–Madison
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The Dynamics of SNAP Participation and the Increase in SNAP Caseloads during the Recovery of 2003-2007

The recent Great Recession has seen an increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation of over 30 percent. The period following the 2001 recession also saw an increase in SNAP participation, the first time in program history that participation rose during a period of economic recovery. This study seeks the reason for this unexpected increase by examining the dynamics of SNAP participation. Descriptive results using the Survey of Income and Program Participation show that a dramatic fall in the exit rate is the primary reason why SNAP caseloads increased during the recovery period. Results from hazard regressions are inconclusive as to whether or not SNAP policy changes that occurred during the period are responsible for the decrease in the SNAP exit rate.


Food & Nutrition, Food Assistance