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Inside the War on Poverty: The Impact of Food Stamps on Birth Outcomes

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Author Info

  • Douglas Almond

    (Columbia University and NBER)

  • Hilary W. Hoynes

    (University of California, Davis and NBER)

  • Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

    (Northwestern University and NBER)

Abstract

This paper evaluates the health impacts of a signature initiative of the War on Poverty: the introduction of the modern Food Stamp Program (FSP). Using variation in the month FSP began operating in each U.S. county, we find that pregnancies exposed to FSP three months prior to birth yielded deliveries with increased birth weight, with the largest gains at the lowest birth weights. We also find small but statistically insignificant improvements in neonatal mortality. We conclude that the sizable increase in income from FSP improved birth outcomes for both whites and African Americans, with larger impacts for African American mothers. © 2011 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/REST_a_00089
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal The Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 93 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 387-403

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:93:y:2011:i:2:p:387-403

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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

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References

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  1. Barbara H. Kehrer & Charles M. Wolin, 1979. "Impact of Income Maintenance on Low Birth Weight: Evidence from the Gary Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(4), pages 434-462.
  2. Hilary W. Hoynes & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2009. "Consumption Responses to In-Kind Transfers: Evidence from the Introduction of the Food Stamp Program," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 109-39, October.
  3. Angus Deaton, 2003. "Health, Inequality, and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 113-158, March.
  4. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2006. "From the cradle to the labor market? The effect of birth weight on adult outcomes," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19425, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Janet Currie, 2009. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Socioeconomic Status, Poor Health in Childhood, and Human Capital Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(1), pages 87-122, March.
  6. Douglas Almond & Kenneth Y. Chay & David S. Lee, 2005. "The Costs of Low Birth Weight," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1031-1083, August.
  7. Oliveira, Victor & Racine, Elizabeth & Olmsted, Jennifer & Ghelfi, Linda M., 2002. "The Wic Program: Background, Trends, And Issues," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33847, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & David H. Autor & David Lyle, 2002. "Women, War and Wages: The Effect of Female Labor Supply on the Wage Structure at Mid-Century," NBER Working Papers 9013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Currie, J. & Cole, N., 1992. "Welfare and Child Health: the Link Between AFDC Participation and Birth Weight," Working papers 92-9, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. Butler, J S & Raymond, Jennie E, 1996. "The Effect of the Food Stamp Program on Nutrient Intake," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(4), pages 781-98, October.
  11. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
  12. Corman, Hope & Grossman, Michael, 1985. "Determinants of neonatal mortality rates in the U.S. : A reduced form model," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 213-236, September.
  13. Janet Currie & Nancy Cole, 1991. "Does Participation in Transfer Programs During Pregnancy Improve Birth Weight?," NBER Working Papers 3832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Michael Grossman & Steven Jacobowitz, 1982. "Variations in Infant Mortality Rates among Counties in the United States: The Roles of Social Policies and Programs," NBER Working Papers 0615, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Michael Grossman & Steven Jacobowitz, 1981. "Variations in infant mortality rates among counties of the United States: The roles of public policies and programs," Demography, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 695-713, November.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. von Hinke Kessler Scholder, Stephanie, 2013. "School meal crowd out in the 1980s," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 538-545.
  2. Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet & Herrmann, Mariesa, 2012. "From infant to mother: Early disease environment and future maternal health," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 475-483.
  3. Bejenariu, Simona & Mitrut, Andreea, 2012. "Austerity Measures and Infant Health. Lessons from an Unexpected Wage Cut Policy," Working Paper Series, Center for Labor Studies 2012:5, Uppsala University, Department of Economics, revised 10 Oct 2013.
  4. 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 rwp13-037, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  5. Lindo, Jason M., 2010. "Parental Job Loss and Infant Health," IZA Discussion Papers 5213, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie, 2011. "Killing Me Softly: The Fetal Origins Hypothesis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(3), pages 153-72, Summer.
  7. Rossin-Slater, Maya, 2013. "WIC in your neighborhood: New evidence on the impacts of geographic access to clinics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 51-69.
  8. Nicholas, Lauren Hersch, 2011. "Can Food Stamps help to reduce Medicare spending on diabetes?," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 1-13, January.
  9. Rucker C. Johnson, 2011. "Long-run Impacts of School Desegregation & School Quality on Adult Attainments," NBER Working Papers 16664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Charles L. Baum II, 2010. "The Effects of Food Stamps on Weight Gained by Expectant Mothers," Working Papers 201002, Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance.
  11. Lisa Schulkind, 2013. "Getting a Sporting Chance: Title IX and the Intergenerational Transmission of Health," Working Papers 1305, Trinity College, Department of Economics.
  12. Charles Baum, 2012. "The effects of food stamp receipt on weight gained by expectant mothers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 1307-1340, October.

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