Erik Scherpf

Research Agricultural Economist


Erik Scherpf is a research agricultural economist in the Food Assistance Branch of the Food Economics Division. He specializes in how the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other food assistance programs influence and are influenced by macro-economic factors.


Erik was an economist in the Food Assistance Branch at the USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) until 2019. In his prior ERS service, he worked extensively with State SNAP administrative records, contributing to the growth of the USDA-Food and Nutrition Service-ERS-Census administrative data platform—a cross-agency effort to acquire State administrative records from food assistance programs. Erik has coauthored reports using administrative records to examine the targeting of SNAP benefits to the poor and near-poor and to analyze the effect of labor market conditions on program participation. His other research focuses on the relationship between enrollment in SNAP and local labor market conditions, as well as the interaction between individuals’ program participation and labor supply decisions.

Before rejoining ERS, Erik was a senior research methodologist at NORC at the University of Chicago, where he provided support on quantitative methods and analysis across a wide range of projects. Erik has also taught a masters-level course in econometrics at the Johns Hopkins University Advanced Academic Programs in Washington, D.C.


Erik received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.