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Determinants of SNAP Participation: Employing a Structural Vulnerability of Poverty Framework to Examine SNAP Participation Among Low-Income Heads of Households


This research examines how aspects of a weakened social structure potentially impact SNAP participation over the course of the Great Recession among elderly low-income heads of households. The objective is to understand how individual characteristics, as well as structural factors of a weakened economy, a growing low-wage labor market, and a shrinking safety net, impact participation in SNAP.

This research will specifically ask the following questions:

How does participation in SNAP change throughout the course of the Great Recession when the structural vulnerability of poverty framework is examined?

Do differences in SNAP participation change by structural factors associated with poverty across states?

This research brings a new approach to investigating the relationship between determinants of SNAP participation as a function of poverty in relation to structural factors throughout the Great Recession. Instead of asking how SNAP participation affects labor force participation, this research adds to the literature by exploring what factors act as a determinant to SNAP participation in times of economic uncertainty.

A binary logistic multilevel regression was conducted using secondary data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation 2008 Panel. The sample included low-income (150% of the Federal Poverty Line) heads of households, aged 18-64.

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