Hamersma’s research on SNAP access funded by WT Grant Foundation
Sarah Hamersma, an associate professor of
public administration and international affairs, recently won a $140,058 award
from the WT Grant Foundation to support her project “Keeping the ‘Great
Equalizer’ Fed: SNAP Access and Young Adult’s Educational Engagement.”
The project, which is funded through WT
Grant’s Reducing Inequality program, will examine the effects of the U.S.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on post-secondary educational
investments. The researchers will rely on data from a nationally-representative
longitudinal survey, shorter panel and cross-sectional surveys, and
administrative SNAP records from seven states. Hamersma’s hope is that this
project will determine whether lifting SNAP restrictions for young adults can
increase educational investment, which in turn helps reduce economic
inequalities. Rhea Acuña, a doctoral student in public administration and
international affairs who specializes in researching social and urban policies,
will be assisting Hamersma with this project.
The WT Grant Foundation supports research
aimed at improving the lives of people ages 5-25 in the United States. Rather
than focus on simply understanding the problems of inequality, the Foundation
hopes to help generate effective responses to inequality. It prioritizes
research concerning inequalities stemming from race, ethnicity, economic
standing, language minority status, or immigrant origins.
Hamersma, who is also a senior research
associate in the Center for Policy Research, is an expert in public economics,
labor economics, and applied econometrics. Her current research focuses on the
effects of health and nutrition programs on food insecurity, health outcomes,
and labor supply. Hamersma’s work has been published in journals including the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management,
the Journal of Health Economics, Population Research and Policy Review,
and Economic Inquiry; and has been
cited in popular press outlets including the Boston Globe, New York Times Magazine, and the Washington Post.