IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aejapp/v1y2009i4p109-39.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Consumption Responses to In-Kind Transfers: Evidence from the Introduction of the Food Stamp Program

Author

Listed:
  • Hilary W. Hoynes
  • Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

Abstract

Economists have strong theoretical predictions about how in-kind transfers, such as providing vouchers for food, impact consumption. Despite the prominence of the theory, there is little empirical work on responses to in-kind transfers, and most existing work fails to support the canonical theoretical model. We employ difference-indifference methods to estimate the impact of program introduction on food spending. Consistent with predictions, we find that food stamps reduce out-of-pocket food spending and increase overall food expenditures. We also find that households are inframarginal and respond similarly to one dollar in cash income and one dollar in food stamps. (JEL D12, H23, I38)

Suggested Citation

  • 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 109-139, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:1:y:2009:i:4:p:109-39
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.1.4.109
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.1.4.109
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/app/data/2008-0081_data.zip
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/app/app/2008-0081_app.pdf
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
    2. Keane, Michael & Moffitt, Robert, 1998. "A Structural Model of Multiple Welfare Program Participation and Labor Supply," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(3), pages 553-589, August.
    3. Jonathan Gruber & Aaron Yelowitz, 1999. "Public Health Insurance and Private Savings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1249-1274, December.
    4. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-399, April.
    5. Zeldes, Stephen P, 1989. "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 305-346, April.
    6. Herman M. Southworth, 1945. "The Economics of Public Measures to Subsidize Food Consumption," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 27(1), pages 38-66.
    7. Amy Finkelstein & Robin McKnight, 2005. "What Did Medicare Do (And Was It Worth It)?," NBER Working Papers 11609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. 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.
    9. Fraker, Thomas & Moffitt, Robert, 1988. "The effect of food stamps on labor supply : A bivariate selection model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 25-56, February.
    10. Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2003. "Measuring the Well-Being of the Poor Using Income and Consumption," NBER Working Papers 9760, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Thomas M. Fraker & Alberto P. Martini & James C. Ohls & Michael Ponza & Elizabeth A. Quinn, 1992. "The Evaluation of the Alabama Food Stamp Cash-Out Demonstration Vol. 1: Recipient Impacts," Mathematica Policy Research Reports bc4fe28e4d704a8a84e7adf0b, Mathematica Policy Research.
    12. Paul A. Hagstrom, 1996. "The Food Stamp Participation and Labor Supply of Married Couples: An Empirical Analysis of Joint Decisions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 383-403.
    13. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    14. Gruber, Jonathan, 2000. "Cash welfare as a consumption smoothing mechanism for divorced mothers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 157-182, February.
    15. Meyer, Bruce D. & Sullivan, James X., 2004. "The effects of welfare and tax reform: the material well-being of single mothers in the 1980s and 1990s," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1387-1420, July.
    16. repec:mpr:mprres:1206 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Jonathan Gruber, 1994. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 4750, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Jens Ludwig & Douglas L. Miller, 2007. "Does Head Start Improve Children's Life Chances? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 159-208.
    19. Hoyt Bleakley, 2007. "Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 73-117.
    20. Jonathan Gruber, 1996. "Cash Welfare as a Consumption Smoothing Mechanism for Single Mothers," NBER Working Papers 5738, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    21. repec:mpr:mprres:1253 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Price V. Fishback & Shawn Everett Kantor, 1995. "Did Workers Pay for the Passage of Workers' Compensation Laws?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 713-742.
    23. Nicholas S. Souleles, 1999. "The Response of Household Consumption to Income Tax Refunds," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 947-958, September.
    24. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 192-205, March.
    25. Engen, Eric M. & Gruber, Jonathan, 2001. "Unemployment insurance and precautionary saving," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 545-579, June.
    26. Eric M. Engen & Jonathan Gruber, 1995. "Unemployment Insurance and Precautionary Saving," NBER Working Papers 5252, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    27. J. William Levedahl, 1995. "A Theoretical and Empirical Evaluation of the Functional Forms Used to Estimate the Food Expenditure Equation of Food Stamp Recipients," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 77(4), pages 960-968.
    28. Moffitt, Robert, 1983. "An Economic Model of Welfare Stigma," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1023-1035, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Hoynes, Hilary Williamson & Schanzenbach, Diane Whitmore, 2012. "Work incentives and the Food Stamp Program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 151-162.
    2. Shin-Yi Chou & Jin-Tan Liu & Cliff J. Huang, 2004. "Health insurance and savings over the life cycle-a semiparametric smooth coefficient estimation," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(3), pages 295-322.
    3. Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley & Guglielmo Weber, 2003. "Asking consumption questions in general purpose surveys," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(491), pages 540-567, November.
    4. Shin-Yi Chou & Jin-Tan Liu & James K. Hammitt, 2002. "Health Insurance and Households' Precautionary Behaviors - An Unusual Natural Experiment," NBER Working Papers 9394, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Rendon Sílvio, 2006. "Job Search And Asset Accumulation Under Borrowing Constraints ," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(1), pages 233-263, February.
    6. Gallagher, Emily A. & Gopalan, Radhakrishnan & Grinstein-Weiss, Michal & Sabat, Jorge, 2020. "Medicaid and household savings behavior: New evidence from tax refunds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(2), pages 523-546.
    7. Jonathan Gruber & Julie Berry Cullen, 1996. "Spousal Labor Supply as Insurance: Does Unemployment Insurance Crowd Outthe Added Worker Effect?," NBER Working Papers 5608, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Reichling, Felix, 2006. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance in Labor Market Equilibrium when Workers can Self-Insure," MPRA Paper 5362, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 16 Oct 2007.
    9. Timothy F. Harris, 2018. "Do SNAP Work Requirements Work?," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 19-297, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    10. Fayaz Farkhad, Bita & Meyerhoefer, Chad D., 2018. "The Impact of Participation in SNAP on Labor Force Decisions," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 274180, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    11. Thomas J. Kniesner & James P. Ziliak, 2002. "Tax Reform and Automatic Stabilization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(3), pages 590-612, June.
    12. Borjas, George J., 2004. "Food insecurity and public assistance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1421-1443, July.
    13. James P. Ziliak, 2003. "Income Transfers and Assets of the Poor," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(1), pages 63-76, February.
    14. Christelis, Dimitris & Georgarakos, Dimitris & Jappelli, Tullio, 2015. "Wealth shocks, unemployment shocks and consumption in the wake of the Great Recession," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 21-41.
    15. P. A. Smith, "undated". "The Effect of the 1981 Welfare Reforms on AFDC Participation and Labor Supply," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1117-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    16. Guyonne Kalb, 1998. "An Australian Model for Labour Supply and Welfare Participation in Two-Adult Households," Discussion Papers 0082, University of New South Wales, Social Policy Research Centre.
    17. Paul Gertler & Jonathan Gruber, 2002. "Insuring Consumption Against Illness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 51-70, March.
    18. Shin-Yi Chou & Jin-Tan Liu & James Hammitt, 2006. "Households’ precautionary behaviors—the effects of the introduction of National Health Insurance in Taiwan," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 395-421, December.
    19. Chou, Shin-Yi & Liu, Jin-Tan & Hammitt, James K., 2003. "National Health Insurance and precautionary saving: evidence from Taiwan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1873-1894, September.
    20. H. Hoynes & R. Moffitt, "undated". "The effectiveness of financial work incentives in DI and SSI: Lessons from other transfer programs," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1073-95, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

    Lists

    This item is featured on the following reading lists, Wikipedia, or ReplicationWiki pages:
    1. Consumption Responses to In-Kind Transfers: Evidence from the Introduction of the Food Stamp Program (American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 2009) in ReplicationWiki

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:1:y:2009:i:4:p:109-39. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.