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Food Stamp Caseloads over the Business Cycle

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Author Info

  • James P. Ziliak

    ()
    (University of Kentucky)

  • Craig Gundersen

    ()
    (Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture)

  • David N. Figlio

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Florida)

Abstract

We use a dynamic model of food stamp caseloads with state-level panel data to estimate the impact of the business cycle on food stamp caseloads in the era of welfare reform. The macroeconomy has a substantial impact on food stamp caseloads: A one-percentage-point increase in the unemployment rate leads to a 2.3% increase after one year. In terms of welfare policy, a 10-percentage-point increase in the share of a state's population waived from rules limiting food stamp receipt among able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) results in a 0.5% increase in contemporaneous caseloads. States with waivers from the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program in the mid-1990s had caseloads about 1.9% higher than nonwaiver states. While changes in AFDC caseloads have historically resulted in coincident changes in food stamp caseloads, our results suggest that the link between AFDC caseload and food stamp caseload changes has dissipated substantially after welfare reform. The cyclical sensitivity of food stamp caseloads indicates the importance of food stamps in smoothing consumption during economic recessions.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 69 (2003)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 903-919

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Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:69:4:y:2003:p:903-919

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Web page: http://www.southerneconomic.org/
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Cited by:
  1. Peter Ganong & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2013. "The Decline, Rebound, and Further Rise in SNAP Enrollment: Disentangling Business Cycle Fluctuations and Policy Changes," NBER Working Papers 19363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Neeraj Kaushal & Qin Gao, 2009. "Food Stamp Program and Consumption Choices," NBER Working Papers 14988, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Charles Baum, 2012. "The effects of food stamp receipt on weight gained by expectant mothers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 1307-1340, October.
  4. Salois, Matthew & Balcombe, Kelvin, 2011. "Do Food Stamps Cause Obesity? A Generalised Bayesian Instrumental Variable Approach in the Presence of Heteroscedasticity," MPRA Paper 28745, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Laura Leete & Neil Bania, 2010. "The effect of income shocks on food insufficiency," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 505-526, December.
  6. Mark Duggan & Robert Rosenheck & Perry Singleton, 2006. "Federal Policy and the Rise in Disability Enrollment: Evidence for the VA's Disability Compensation Program," NBER Working Papers 12323, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Charles L. Baum II, 2010. "The Effects of Food Stamps on Obesity," Working Papers, Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance 201003, Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance.
  8. Ganong, Peter & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2013. "The Decline, Rebound, and Further Rise in SNAP Enrollment: Disentangling Business Cycle Fluctuations and Policy Changes," Working Paper Series, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government rwp13-037, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  9. Charles L. Baum II, 2010. "The Effects of Food Stamps on Weight Gained by Expectant Mothers," Working Papers, Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance 201002, Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance.
  10. Gundersen, Craig & Jolliffe, Dean & Tiehen, Laura, 2009. "The challenge of program evaluation: When increasing program participation decreases the relative well-being of participants," Food Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 367-376, August.

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