The Effects of Minimum Wages on Food Stamp Enrollment and Expenditures


Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, 54(4):668-694. October 2015.

We provide the first causal analysis of how minimum wages affects enrollments and expenditures in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Exploiting state- and federal-level variation in minimum-wage policy between 1990 and 2012, and incorporating local controls in our specifications, we find that a 10 percent minimum wage increase reduces SNAP enrollment between 2.4 and 3.2 percent, and reduces program expenditures an estimated 1.9 percent. If the federal minimum wage were increased from $7.25 to $10.10, enrollment would fall between 7.5 and 8.7 percent (3.1 to 3.6 million persons) relative to 2012 levels, and annual expenditures would decrease 6 percent ($4.6 billion).