Research Seminar with Chloe East, PhD
Caseworker Subjectivity, SNAP Benefit Receipt, and Labor Supply
Open to Penn Affiliates
The Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) reached 38 million people in 2019. However, an estimated 18% of eligible households do not participate. We study a potentially important channel driving incomplete participation—the behavior of caseworkers. Caseworkers play a key role in the application process; they are the main resource for applicants, and they directly determine eligibility. Despite this, there is no quantitative analysis on the impact of caseworkers because data on caseworkers has been unavailable. We use new administrative data that includes all SNAP application details, including whether the applicant eventually receives SNAP, and information about the caseworker assigned to each case. We ask: 1) do caseworkers vary in their strictness? and 2) if an applicant is denied because of being randomly assigned to a stricter caseworker, can the applicant make up the lack of SNAP benefits with increases in earnings?
Co-sponsored with the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE).
Please note: In-person attendance at this event is preferred. Virtual access will be provided to registrants who are unable to be on campus.
Chloe East, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Colorado, Denver. She is also a research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor. In Spring 2022, Dr. East founded the Equitable Policy Research Lab. She currently serves as the Associate Chair for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the CU Denver Economics Department. Dr. East also founded and chairs the EDI committee in the Economics Department. She co-leads the Research Working Group within the Children Thrive Action Network, and she is the Chair of the Women in Economics Community for APPAM.