PI: Gregory Schober, Assistant Professor, University of Texas at El Paso
Grant Amount: $2,500
Project Abstract: The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—formerly called Food Stamps—provides food benefits to people in need in the United States. During the COVID-19 pandemic, more people applied for and received SNAP benefits. An important question is whether SNAP encourages people to participate in politics. Does SNAP increase voting and other forms of political activity among recipients? Past research finds that some government programs increase political participation, but it is unclear if government programs boost political participation in Hispanic communities. I argue that SNAP increases the health of recipients, which in turn allows them to participate more in political activities. To analyze this argument, I am starting a new representative survey of adults in El Paso, Texas. Round 1 of the survey is being conducted in April/May 2022, and Round 2 will be implemented in April/May 2023. The project will improve our understanding of how policy affects political participation in a predominantly Hispanic community, and it will also help local government and nonprofit leaders identify urgent community needs.