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Does the Food Stamp Program Really Increase Obesity? The Importance of Accounting for Misclassification Errors

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  • Vassilopoulos, Achilleas
  • Drichoutis, Andreas
  • Nayga, Rodolfo
  • Lazaridis, Panagiotis

Abstract

Over the last few decades, the prevalence of obesity among US citizens has grown rapidly, especially among low-income individuals. This has led to questions about the effectiveness of nutritional assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamps Program (FSP). Results from previous studies generally suggest that FSP participation increases obesity. This finding is however based on analyses that assumed that participants do not misclassify their program participation. Significant misclassification errors have been reported in the literature. Using propensity score matching estimation and a new method to conduct extensive sensitivity analysis, we find that this finding is quite sensitive to misclassification errors above 10% and to functional form assumptions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 28768.

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Date of creation: Jan 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:28768

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Keywords: matching estimators; sensitivity analysis; food stamps; obesity;

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  1. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2010. "The Credibility Revolution in Empirical Economics: How Better Research Design is Taking the Con out of Econometrics," Working Paper Series of the German Council for Social and Economic Data, German Council for Social and Economic Data (RatSWD) 142, German Council for Social and Economic Data (RatSWD).
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  8. Daniel Millimet & Rusty Tchernis, 2008. "On the Specification of Propensity Scores: with Applications to the Analysis of Trade Policies," Caepr Working Papers, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington 2006-013_Updated, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
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  14. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson & Jay Bhattacharya, 2005. "Welfare-Enhancing Technological Change and the Growth of Obesity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 253-257, May.
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