This dissertation examines the U.S. SNAP program, first by investigating the determinants of state level expenditure decisions on fraud and outreach and second by an empirical analysis of the impact of SNAP receipt on household tobacco and alcohol expenditures. Two theoretical frameworks are employed to motivate the legislative actor’s decision-making--Schneider and Ingram’s Social Construction Theory and Lerner’s Belief in a Just World. Findings indicate that state legislative actors allocate increased burdens to lowincome families in times of economic crisis. Other findings show a strong, positive selection effect into SNAP for smokers and drinkers, and a marginal income effect occurring from program participation.