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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. Sandra E Black & Paul J Devereux & Kjell G Salvanes, 2007. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 409-439, 02.
  2. Michael Grossman & Steven Jacobowitz, 1981. "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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Hilary W. Hoynes & Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2007. "Consumption Reponses to In-Kind Transfers: Evidence from the Introduction of the Food Stamp Program," Working Papers 0711, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Douglas Almond & Kenneth Y. Chay & David S. Lee, 2004. "The Costs of Low Birth Weight," NBER Working Papers 10552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Daron Acemoglu & David H. Autor & David Lyle, 2004. "Women, War, and Wages: The Effect of Female Labor Supply on the Wage Structure at Midcentury," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 497-551, June.
  12. Deaton, A., 2001. "Health, Inequality, and Economic Development," Papers 200, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Lindo, Jason M., 2010. "Parental Job Loss and Infant Health," IZA Discussion Papers 5213, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Chad D. Meyerhoefer & Muzhe Yang, 2011. "The Relationship between Food Assistance and Health: A Review of the Literature and Empirical Strategies for Identifying Program Effects," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 33(3), pages 304-344.
  3. Stephanie von Hinke Kessler Scholder, 2011. "School meal crowd out in the 1980s," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 11/261, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  4. Anna Aizer & Shari Eli & Joseph P. Ferrie & Adriana Lleras-Muney, 2014. "The Long Term Impact of Cash Transfers to Poor Families," NBER Working Papers 20103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Burlando, Alfredo, 2014. "Transitory shocks and birth weights: Evidence from a blackout in Zanzibar," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 154-168.
  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. 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.
  8. Douglas Almond & Janet Currie & Mariesa Herrmann, 2011. "From Infant to Mother: Early Disease Environment and Future Maternal Health," NBER Working Papers 17676, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Naci Mocan & Christian Raschke & Bulent Unel, 2013. "The Impact of Mothers’ Earnings on Health Inputs and Infant Health," NBER Working Papers 19434, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Lisa Schulkind, 2013. "Getting a Sporting Chance: Title IX and the Intergenerational Transmission of Health," Working Papers 1305, Trinity College, Department of Economics.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.

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