The Economic Perspective: “Is the Food Stamp Program Effective?”

Mary:  This is Mary Walden with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program asks if the food stamp program is effective.  Mike food stamps, also known as the SNAP program, is the federal government’s main way of combating hunger.  Not only is the goal to have people not go hungry, but program backers also expect the program will make people more effective in learning and working, thereby improving their economic situation over time.  Do food stamps seem to meet those objectives?


Mike:  Summary Answer

  • Based on a new study, the answer appears to be yes
  • Children and young adults using food stamps were tracked over time
  • Found that those using food stamps, compared to similar individuals who did not, finished more years of schooling, worked more years, and spent less time in poverty
  • Using the monetary values of these benefits, researchers estimated food stamps pay for themselves – that is, the benefits of the food stamps exceed their cost
  • Conclude that in their five decades of use, food stamps have been successful
  • I’m MW

Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.