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  • Jolliffe, Dean
  • Tiehen, Laura
  • Gundersen, Craig
  • Winicki, Joshua


In 2000, 8.8 million children received food stamps, making the Food Stamp Program a crucial component of the social safety net. Despite its importance, little research has examined the effect of food stamps on children's overall well-being. Using the Current Population Survey from 1989 to 2001, we consider the impact of food stamps on three measures of poverty - the headcount, the poverty gap, and the squared poverty gap. These measures portray the incidence, depth, and severity of poverty. We find that in comparison to the headcount measure, food stamp benefits lead to large reductions in the poverty gap and squared poverty gap measures. We then simulate the effects of several changes in the distribution of food stamps and find that a general across-the-board increase in benefits has little impact on poverty reduction. In contrast, targeted changes can greatly reduce the depth and severity of poverty - increasing benefits to the poor results in a greater reduction in the depth of poverty than expanding participation rates, at a similar cost, among poor households.

Suggested Citation

  • Jolliffe, Dean & Tiehen, Laura & Gundersen, Craig & Winicki, Joshua, 2003. "FOOD STAMP BENEFITS AND CHILD POVERTY IN THE 1990s," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33833, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uersfa:33833

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Breunig, Robert & Dasgupta, Indraneel & Gundersen, Craig & Pattanaik, Prasanta, 2001. "Explaining The Food Stamp Cash-Out Puzzle," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33869, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    2. Brian Cushing & Buhong Zheng, 2000. "Re-evaluating differences in poverty among central city, suburban, and nonmetropolitan areas of the US," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(5), pages 653-660.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yu, ManSoo & Lombe, Margaret & Nebbitt, Von E., 2010. "Food stamp program participation, informal supports, household food security and child food security: A comparison of african american and caucasian households in poverty," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 767-773, May.
    2. Michael LeBlanc & Betsey Kuhn & James Blaylock, 2005. "Poverty amidst plenty: food insecurity in the United States," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 32(s1), pages 159-173, January.


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