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Effects of the Decline in the Real Value of SNAP Benefits From 2009 to 2011

Listed author(s):
  • Nord, Mark
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The value of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits has declined due to inflation since the increase in benefit size in April 2009 mandated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Earlier Economic Research Service (ERS) research documented improvements in food spending and food security from 2008 to 2009 that may have resulted from the ARRA SNAP-benefit increase. This report estimates the extent to which those gains may have been eroded from 2009 to 2011 as a result of the reduction in real value of SNAP benefits due to inflation in food prices. Changes in food spending and food security from 2009 to 2011 were compared between households that did and did not receive SNAP using Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement data. The difference-in-difference analyses, which also adjusted for differences in households’ income, employment, and other characteristics, suggest that the decline in value of SNAP benefits may have resulted in an increase of 16.5 percent in the number of SNAP-recipient households with very low food security and a decline of 4.4 percent in median food spending by SNAP households. The size of these changes relative to the size of the reduction in the inflation-adjusted value of SNAP benefits was consistent with findings from the earlier ERS research on effects of the ARRA SNAP-benefit increase. Taken together, the two studies provide estimates of the effects that may be expected from potential future increases or decreases in SNAP benefits.

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Paper provided by United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service in its series Economic Research Report with number 155384.

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Date of creation: Aug 2013
Handle: RePEc:ags:uersrr:155384
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  1. Nord, Mark, 2009. "Food Spending Declined and Food Insecurity Increased for Middle-Income and Low-Income Households From 2000 to 2007," Economic Information Bulletin 56627, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  2. Coleman-Jensen, Alisha & Nord, Mark & Andrews, Margaret S. & Carlson, Steven, 2011. "Household Food Security in the United States in 2011," Economic Research Report 134715, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  3. Nord, Mark & Golla, Anne Marie, 2009. "Does SNAP Decrease Food Insecurity? Untangling the Self-Selection Effect," Economic Research Report 55955, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  4. Caroline Ratcliffe & Signe-Mary McKernan & Sisi Zhang, 2011. "How Much Does the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reduce Food Insecurity?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1082-1098.
  5. Parke E. Wilde & Lisa M. Troy & Beatrice L. Rogers, 2007. "Food Stamps and Food Spending: An Engel Function Approach," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(2), pages 416-430.
  6. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
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