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What Can We Learn about the Effects of Food Stamps on Obesity in the Presence of Misreporting?

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  • Lorenzo Almada
  • Ian McCarthy
  • Rusty Tchernis

Abstract

There is an increasing perception among policy makers that food stamp benefits contribute positively to adult obesity rates. We show that these results are heavily dependent on one’s assumptions regarding the accuracy of reported food stamp participation. When allowing for misreporting, we find no evidence that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participation significantly increases the probability of being obese or overweight among adults. Our results also highlight the inherent bias and inconsistency of common point estimates when ignoring misreporting, with treatment effects from instrumental variable methods exceeding the nonparametric upper bounds by over 200% in some cases.

Suggested Citation

  • Lorenzo Almada & Ian McCarthy & Rusty Tchernis, 2016. "What Can We Learn about the Effects of Food Stamps on Obesity in the Presence of Misreporting?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 98(4), pages 997-1017.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:98:y:2016:i:4:p:997-1017.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nguimkeu, Pierre & Denteh, Augustine & Tchernis, Rusty, 2019. "On the estimation of treatment effects with endogenous misreporting," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 208(2), pages 487-506.
    2. Almada, Lorenzo N. & Tchernis, Rusty, 2018. "Measuring effects of SNAP on obesity at the intensive margin," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 150-163.
    3. Travers Barclay Child & Elena Nikolova, 2017. "War and Social Attitudes," UCL SSEES Economics and Business working paper series 2017-5, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES).
    4. Charles Courtemanche & Augustine Denteh & Rusty Tchernis, 2019. "Estimating the Associations between SNAP and Food Insecurity, Obesity, and Food Purchases with Imperfect Administrative Measures of Participation," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 86(1), pages 202-228, July.
    5. Nicholas Moellman, 2020. "Healthcare and Hunger: Effects of the ACA Medicaid Expansions on Food Insecurity in America," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 42(2), pages 168-186, June.
    6. Bruce Meyer & Robert Goerge, 2011. "Errors in Survey Reporting and Imputation and Their Effects on Estimates of Food Stamp Program Participation," Working Papers 11-14, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    7. Mittag, Nikolas, 2016. "Correcting for Misreporting of Government Benefits," IZA Discussion Papers 10266, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Fayaz Farkhad, Bita & Meyerhoefer, Chad D. & Dearden, James A., 2017. "The within-month pattern of medical utilization among SNAP participants," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258361, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    9. Susan Chen & Le Wang, 2021. "SNAP participation, diet quality, and obesity: robust evidence with estimation techniques without external instrumental variables," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 61(3), pages 1641-1667, September.
    10. Almada, Lorenzo & McCarthy, Ian M., 2017. "It's a cruel summer: Household responses to reductions in government nutrition assistance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 45-57.
    11. Helen H. Jensen & Brent Kreider & Oleksandr Zhylyevskyy, 2019. "Investigating Treatment Effects of Participating Jointly in SNAP and WIC when the Treatment Is Validated Only for SNAP," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 86(1), pages 124-155, July.
    12. Child, Travers Barclay & Nikolova, Elena, 2018. "War and Social Attitudes," GLO Discussion Paper Series 279, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    13. Leschewski, Andrea M. & Weatherspoon, Dave D., 2018. "The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Current Restricted Expenditures," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 273846, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    14. Susan Chen & Le Wang, 0. "SNAP participation, diet quality, and obesity: robust evidence with estimation techniques without external instrumental variables," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-27.
    15. Chien‐Yu Lai & John A List & Anya Samek, 2020. "Got Milk? Using Nudges to Reduce Consumption of Added Sugar," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 102(1), pages 154-168, January.
    16. Hiroyuki Kasahara & Katsumi Shimotsu, 2019. "Identification of Regression Models with a Misclassified and Endogenous Binary Regressor," Papers 1904.11143, arXiv.org, revised Aug 2021.
    17. 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.
    18. Jones, Jordan & Courtemanche, Charles & Denteh, Augustine & Marton, James & Tchernis, Rusty, 2021. "Do State Snap Policies Influence Program Participation among Seniors?," IZA Discussion Papers 14564, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Travers Barclay Child & Elena Nikolova, 2020. "War and social attitudes," Conflict Management and Peace Science, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 37(2), pages 152-171, March.
    20. Meyer, Bruce D. & Mittag, Nikolas & Goerge, Robert M., 2018. "Errors in Survey Reporting and Imputation and Their Effects on Estimates of Food Stamp Program Participation," IZA Discussion Papers 11776, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    21. Jones, Jordan W. & Marton, James & Courtemanche, Charles & Tchernis, Rusty & Denteh, Augustine, 2021. "Policy Determinants of Senior SNAP Participation," 2021 Annual Meeting, August 1-3, Austin, Texas 313925, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    22. March, Raymond J. & Lyford, Conrad P. & Carpio, Carlos E. & Boonsaeng, Tullaya, 2016. "Do SNAP Recipients Get the Best Prices?," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 236213, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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    JEL classification:

    • C01 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Econometrics
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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