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Abstract: In 1982 the Reagan Administration proposed a $1.5 billion cut in the federal Food Stamp Program. The case examines the evolution of the food stamp program up to this point and then lays out the cost-cutting options available to the administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service. It concludes with questions as to how specific reductions would affect recipients. Appendices to the case provide statistical information on recipients and their benefits.
Learning Objective: The case offers students the opportunity to track the effects of a cutback in a federal social service program. Making painful choices about reductions forces close examination of the mechanisms of the transfer program and illustrates the policy effects of bureaucratic decision-making. The serious effect of the administrator's decision points to the necessity of developing a consistent set of criteria for judging the merits of various policy options. "Food Stamps" has been taught in courses on applied policy analysis and has proven useful for group projects and presentations.