Listening to Snitches: Race/Ethnicity, English Proficiency, and Access to State Agencies’ Enforcement Systems


While numerous studies have revealed systematic inequalities in government-individual relationships and access to state services and resources (Ayres and Siegelman 1995, Butler and Broockman 2011, Doleac and Stein 2013, Giulietti and Vlassopoulos 2015, Milkman et al. 2014, Turner et al. 2013, White et al. 2015), others have found less evidence of racial/ethnic discrimination in access to government programs for the poor (Einstein and Glick 2017). The present study tests for discrimination in online systems for public reporting of suspected fraud in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), examining the effects of being perceived as Latino/immigrant. To do it, we developed a field experiment to test if public assistance fraud control entities respond to public fraud reports differently when those reports are raised by persons who are ostensibly Latina, and ostensibly non-native English speakers. The results shed new light on questions of between-group differences in access to state agencies.


Last updated on 01/04/2021