The Role of SNAP in the U.S. Social Safety Net: Assessing effects on poverty, food insecurity and health

Thursday, January 21, 2016
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
  • Hilary Hoynes

More than 46 million Americans live in poverty and high rates of food insecurity and obesity are also a persistent concern. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, occupies a central role in the U.S. safety net as the only universal aid program for low income individuals. In this talk, Professor Hilary Hoynes will review the evidence on the two  goals of SNAP: providing income support and improving nutrition. Professor Hoynes will discuss the trends in poverty and inequality in the U.S, and how SNAP affects poverty overall and particularly in the Great Recession. Additionally, she will review the evidence on the impact of SNAP on food insecurity and health. This will include new evidence on how access to social safety net programs in early life affect health and human capital outcomes in adulthood. 

Hilary Hoynes is a Professor of Public Policy and Economics and holds the Haas Distinguished Chair in Economic Disparities. She is the co-editor of the leading journal in economics, American Economic Review. Hoynes received her undergraduate degree from Colby College and her PhD from Stanford University.

Hilary Hoynes

Hoynes is an economist and specializes in the study of poverty, inequality, and the impacts of government tax and transfer programs on low income families. Current projects include evaluating the impact of the Great Recession across demographic groups, examining the impact of Head Start on cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes, examining the impact of the Earned Income Tax Credit on infant health, and estimating impacts of U.S. food and nutrition programs on labor supply, health and human capital accumulation.

In addition to her faculty appointment, Hoynes has research affiliations at the National Bureau of Economic Research, the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research and the Institute for Fiscal Studies. She sits on the Advisory Board of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and previously has sat on the National Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars in Health Policy Research Program and the Advisory Committee for the National Science Foundation, Directorate for the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences. Prior to joining the Goldman School she was a Professor of Economics at UC Davis.