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Food Stamp Program and Consumption Choices

In: Economic Aspects of Obesity

  • Neeraj Kaushal
  • Qin Gao

We study the effect of the Food Stamp Program (FSP) on consumption patterns in families headed by low-educated single mothers in the U.S. using the Consumer Expenditure Surveys for 1994-2004. Our analysis suggests that the food stamp caseload does not have any statistically significant association with per capita expenditure on food in families headed by low-educated single mothers. We find that state and federal welfare reforms during the 1990s lowered the food stamp caseload by approximately 18 percent and the introduction of the Electronic Benefit Transfer cards and simplified reporting procedures for recertification of food stamps increased participation by about seven percent. However, we do not find any evidence that these policies had any effect on total food expenditure, nor do we find any consistent evidence that the policies affected expenditures on specific food items.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Michael Grossman & Naci H. Mocan, 2011. "Economic Aspects of Obesity," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gros09-1, May.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 11821.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:11821
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. Erich Battistin, 2003. "Errors in survey reports of consumption expenditures," IFS Working Papers W03/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    2. Maria J. Hanratty, 2006. "Has the Food Stamp program become more accessible? Impacts of recent changes in reporting requirements and asset eligibility limits," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(3), pages 603-621.
    3. Thomas M. Fraker & Alberto P. Martini & James C. Ohls, 1995. "The Effect of Food Stamp Cashout on Food Expenditures: An Assessment of the Findings from Four Demonstrations," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(4), pages 633-649.
    4. Kaushal, N., 2007. "Do food stamps cause obesity?: Evidence from immigrant experience," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 968-991, September.
    5. Borjas, George J., 2004. "Food insecurity and public assistance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1421-1443, July.
    6. Ver Ploeg, Michele & Mancino, Lisa & Lin, Biing-Hwan & Wang, Chia-Yih, 2007. "The vanishing weight gap: Trends in obesity among adult food stamp participants (US) (1976-2002)," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 20-36, March.
    7. Moffitt, Robert, 1989. "Estimating the Value of an In-Kind Transfer: The Case of Food Stamps," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 385-409, March.
    8. Fox, Mary Kay & Hamilton, William L. & Lin, Biing-Hwan, 2004. "Effects Of Food Assistance And Nutrition Programs On Nutrition And Health: Volume 4, Executive Summary Of The Literature Review," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33871, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    9. 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.
    10. 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 109-39, October.
    11. Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Is there a Daily Discount Rate? Evidence from the Food Stamp Nutrition Cycle," Microeconomics 0304005, EconWPA, revised 21 Apr 2003.
    12. Parke E. Wilde & Christine K. Ranney, 2000. "The Monthly Food Stamp Cycle: Shooping Frequency and Food Intake Decisions in an Endogenous Switching Regression Framework," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(1), pages 200-213.
    13. Zhuo Chen & Steven T. Yen & David B. Eastwood, 2005. "Effects of Food Stamp Participation on Body Weight and Obesity," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1167-1173.
    14. Wilde, Parke E. & Cook, Peggy & Gundersen, Craig & Nord, Mark & Tiehen, Laura, 2000. "The Decline In Food Stamp Program Participation In The 1990'S," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33793, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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