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Abstract

The Food Stamp Program saw an unprecedented decline in participation from 27.5 million participants in 1994 to 18.2 million participants in 1999. A strong economy and changes in social welfare programs drove this change. An econometric model with State-level data calculated that 35 percent of the caseload decline from 1994 to 1998 was associated with changing economic conditions and 12 percent with program reform and political variables. Household-level data from the Current Population Survey lead to the conclusion that 28 percent of the total change in participation was associated with a decrease in the number of people with low income (below 130 percent of the poverty line)and 55 percent was due to a decline in the proportion of low-income people who participate.

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