The John M. Olin Center

Paper Abstract

920. Crystal S. Yang, Does Public Assistance Reduce Recidivism?, 06/2017; published in American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings, Vol. 107, No. 5 (2017).

Abstract: Under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996, individuals convicted of drug-related felonies were permanently banned from receiving welfare and food stamps. Since then, over 30 states have opted out of the federal ban. In this paper, I estimate the impact of public assistance eligibility on recidivism by exploiting both the adoption of the federal ban and subsequent passage of state laws that lifted the ban. Using administrative prison records on five million offenders and a triple-differences research design, I find that public assistance eligibility for drug offenders reduces one-year recidivism rates by ten percent.

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