Administrative Burden and Procedural Denials: Experimental Evidence from SNAP / Eric Giannella, Tatiana Homonoff, Gwen Rino, Jason Somerville.

Giannella, Eric [Browse]
Cambridge, Mass. National Bureau of Economic Research 2023.
1 online resource: illustrations (black and white);


  • Working Paper Series (National Bureau of Economic Research) no. w31239. [More in this series]
  • NBER working paper series no. w31239
Summary note
Many government program applications result in procedural denials due to administrative burdens associated with applying. We identify the intake interview as a key barrier to take-up of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and study the effect of an alternative application process designed to reduce burdens. Using a field experiment involving 65,000 Los Angeles applicants, we find that access to flexible interviews initiated by the applicant increases approvals by six percentage points, doubles early approvals, and increases long-term participation by over two percentage points. Our findings highlight the importance of incorporating flexibility when designing program integrity policies to minimize procedural denials.
May 2023.
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