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Food Stamp Caseloads over the Business Cycle

Author

Listed:
  • James P. Ziliak

    () (University of Kentucky)

  • Craig Gundersen

    () (Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture)

  • David N. Figlio

    () (Department of Economics, University of Florida)

Abstract

We use a dynamic model of food stamp caseloads with state-level panel data to estimate the impact of the business cycle on food stamp caseloads in the era of welfare reform. The macroeconomy has a substantial impact on food stamp caseloads: A one-percentage-point increase in the unemployment rate leads to a 2.3% increase after one year. In terms of welfare policy, a 10-percentage-point increase in the share of a state's population waived from rules limiting food stamp receipt among able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs) results in a 0.5% increase in contemporaneous caseloads. States with waivers from the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program in the mid-1990s had caseloads about 1.9% higher than nonwaiver states. While changes in AFDC caseloads have historically resulted in coincident changes in food stamp caseloads, our results suggest that the link between AFDC caseload and food stamp caseload changes has dissipated substantially after welfare reform. The cyclical sensitivity of food stamp caseloads indicates the importance of food stamps in smoothing consumption during economic recessions.

Suggested Citation

  • James P. Ziliak & Craig Gundersen & David N. Figlio, 2003. "Food Stamp Caseloads over the Business Cycle," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 69(4), pages 903-919, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:69:4:y:2003:p:903-919
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Charles Baum, 2012. "The effects of food stamp receipt on weight gained by expectant mothers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(4), pages 1307-1340, October.
    2. Peter Ganong & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 2013. "The Decline, Rebound, and Further Rise in SNAP Enrollment: Disentangling Business Cycle Fluctuations and Policy Changes," NBER Working Papers 19363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Matthew J. Salois & Kelvin G. Balcombe, 2015. "A Generalized Bayesian Instrumental Variable Approach under Student t-distributed Errors with Application," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 83(5), pages 499-522, September.
    4. 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.
    5. Neeraj Kaushal & Qin Gao, 2011. "Food Stamp Program and Consumption Choices," NBER Chapters,in: Economic Aspects of Obesity, pages 223-247 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Gundersen, Craig & Jolliffe, Dean & Tiehen, Laura, 2009. "The challenge of program evaluation: When increasing program participation decreases the relative well-being of participants," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 367-376, August.
    7. Fantazziini, Dean, 2014. "Nowcasting and Forecasting the Monthly Food Stamps Data in the US using Online Search Data," MPRA Paper 59696, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Mark Duggan & Robert Rosenheck & Perry Singleton, 2006. "Federal Policy and the Rise in Disability Enrollment: Evidence for the VA's Disability Compensation Program," NBER Working Papers 12323, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Laura Leete & Neil Bania, 2010. "The effect of income shocks on food insufficiency," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 505-526, December.
    10. Charles L. Baum, 2011. "The Effects of Food Stamps on Obesity," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 623-651, January.
    11. Holmes, Madilyn & Dharmasena, Senarath, 2016. "Dynamics Of Macroeconomic Shocks On Food Assistace Programs In The United States," 2016 Annual Meeting, February 6-9, 2016, San Antonio, Texas 229953, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    12. Marianne Bitler & Hilary Hoynes, 2016. "The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same? The Safety Net and Poverty in the Great Recession," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(S1), pages 403-444.
    13. Dharmasena, Senarath & Ishdorj, Ariun & Capps, Oral, Jr. & Bessler, David A., 2014. "Dynamics of Macroeconomic Shocks on Food Assistance Programs in the United States," 2014 Annual Meeting, February 1-4, 2014, Dallas, Texas 162368, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    14. Salois, Matthew & Balcombe, Kelvin, 2011. "Do Food Stamps Cause Obesity? A Generalised Bayesian Instrumental Variable Approach in the Presence of Heteroscedasticity," MPRA Paper 28745, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Colleen M. Heflin & James P. Ziliak, 2008. "Food Insufficiency, Food Stamp Participation, and Mental Health," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 89(3), pages 706-727.

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