IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/emo/wp2003/1502.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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

Author

Listed:
  • Lorenzo Almada
  • Ian M. McCarthy
  • Rusty Tchernis

Abstract

The increasing rate of obesity in the U.S., particularly among low-income households, necessitates a thorough understanding of the relationship between obesity and in-kind federal benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the Food Stamp Program. However, when examining this relationship, the existing literature often ignores evidence that respondents frequently misreport their participation in SNAP. This paper studies the impact of such misreporting on the estimated average treatment effect (ATE) of SNAP participation on adult obesity. Our analysis also synthesizes the current empirical techniques available for estimating ATEs in light of misreported treatment participation, adopting a range of parametric analyses as well as nonparametric bounds. The results highlight the inherent bias of common point estimates when ignoring misreporting, with treatment effects from instrumental variable methods exceeding the nonparametric bounds by over 200% in some cases. Accounting for misreporting, the estimated effects of SNAP participation on obesity are largely inconclusive. We find a slight negative effect of SNAP participation on the probability of being overweight, but the results specific to gender remain inconclusive due to the high rates of misreporting, particularly among men.

Suggested Citation

  • Lorenzo Almada & Ian M. McCarthy & Rusty Tchernis, 2015. "What Can We Learn About the Effects of Food Stamps on Obesity in the Presence of Misreporting?," Emory Economics 1502, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
  • Handle: RePEc:emo:wp2003:1502
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://economics.emory.edu/home/assets/workingpapers/mccarthy_15_02_paper.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Elizabeth Dowler, 2003. "Food and Poverty: Insights from the 'North'," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 21(5-6), pages 569-580, December.
    2. Maximilian D. Schmeiser, 2012. "The impact of longā€term participation in the supplemental nutrition assistance program on child obesity," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(4), pages 386-404, April.
    3. 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 109-139, October.
    4. James J. Heckman & Sergio Urzua & Edward Vytlacil, 2006. "Understanding Instrumental Variables in Models with Essential Heterogeneity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 389-432, August.
    5. Maoyong Fan, 2010. "Do Food Stamps Contribute to Obesity in Low-Income Women? Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1165-1180.
    6. Aigner, Dennis J., 1973. "Regression with a binary independent variable subject to errors of observation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 49-59, March.
    7. Daniel L. Millimet & Rusty Tchernis & Muna Husain, 2010. "School Nutrition Programs and the Incidence of Childhood Obesity," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(3).
    8. Kaushal, N., 2007. "Do food stamps cause obesity?: Evidence from immigrant experience," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 968-991, September.
    9. James J. Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2005. "Structural Equations, Treatment Effects, and Econometric Policy Evaluation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(3), pages 669-738, May.
    10. Brent Kreider, 2010. "Regression Coefficient Identification Decay in The Presence of Infrequent Classification Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 1017-1023, November.
    11. Bhattacharya, Jay & Bundorf, M. Kate, 2009. "The incidence of the healthcare costs of obesity," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 649-658, May.
    12. Craig Gundersen & Brent Kreider, 2008. "Food Stamps and Food Insecurity: What Can Be Learned in the Presence of Nonclassical Measurement Error?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 43(2), pages 352-382.
    13. Unknown, 2004. "Effects Of Food Assistance And Nutrition Programs On Nutrition And Health: Volume 3, Literature Review," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33863, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    14. Elton Mykerezi & Bradford Mills, 2010. "The Impact of Food Stamp Program Participation on Household Food Insecurity," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1379-1391.
    15. Erich Battistin & Barbara Sianesi, 2011. "Misclassified Treatment Status and Treatment Effects: An Application to Returns to Education in the United Kingdom," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(2), pages 495-509, May.
    16. Gundersen, Craig & Kreider, Brent & Pepper, John, 2012. "The impact of the National School Lunch Program on child health: A nonparametric bounds analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 166(1), pages 79-91.
    17. Rusty Tchernis & Lorenzo N. Almada, 2016. "Measuring Effects of SNAP on Obesity at the Intensive Margin," Working Papers 2016-019, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    18. Barbara Devaney & Robert Moffitt, 1991. "Dietary Effects of the Food Stamp Program," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 73(1), pages 202-211.
    19. Brent Kreider & John V. Pepper & Craig Gundersen & Dean Jolliffe, 2012. "Identifying the Effects of SNAP (Food Stamps) on Child Health Outcomes When Participation Is Endogenous and Misreported," Journal of the American Statistical Association, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 107(499), pages 958-975, September.
    20. Odelia Rosin, 2008. "The Economic Causes Of Obesity: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(4), pages 617-647, September.
    21. 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.
    22. Arthur Lewbel, 2007. "Estimation of Average Treatment Effects with Misclassification," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(2), pages 537-551, March.
    23. Meyerhoefer, Chad D. & Pylypchuk, Vuriy, 2008. "AJAE Appendix: Does Participation in the Food Stamp Program Increase the Prevalence of Obesity and Health Care Spending?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics Appendices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 90(2), May.
    24. Frazis, Harley & Loewenstein, Mark A., 2003. "Estimating linear regressions with mismeasured, possibly endogenous, binary explanatory variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 151-178, November.
    25. Charles L. Baum, 2011. "The Effects of Food Stamps on Obesity," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 623-651, January.
    26. 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.
    27. Justine Hastings & Ebonya Washington, 2010. "The First of the Month Effect: Consumer Behavior and Store Responses," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 142-162, May.
    28. Brachet, Tanguy, 2008. "Maternal Smoking, Misclassification, and Infant Health," MPRA Paper 21466, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    29. Vassilopoulos, Achilleas & Drichoutis, Andreas & Nayga, Rodolfo & Lazaridis, Panagiotis, 2011. "Does the Food Stamp Program Really Increase Obesity? The Importance of Accounting for Misclassification Errors," MPRA Paper 28768, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    30. Yingyao Hu & Susanne M. Schennach, 2008. "Instrumental Variable Treatment of Nonclassical Measurement Error Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(1), pages 195-216, January.
    31. Bruce Meyer & Nikolas Mittag, 2013. "Misclassification In Binary Choice Models," Working Papers 13-27, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    32. Charles F. Manski & John V. Pepper, 2000. "Monotone Instrumental Variables, with an Application to the Returns to Schooling," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(4), pages 997-1012, July.
    33. Aprajit Mahajan, 2006. "Identification and Estimation of Regression Models with Misclassification," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(3), pages 631-665, May.
    34. Burgstahler, Rebecca & Gundersen, Craig & Garasky, Steven, 2012. "The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Financial Stress, and Childhood Obesity," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(01), pages 29-42, April.
    35. Bruce D. Meyer & Wallace K. C. Mok & James X. Sullivan, 2009. "The Under-Reporting of Transfers in Household Surveys: Its Nature and Consequences," Working Papers 0903, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    36. Cawley, John & Meyerhoefer, Chad, 2012. "The medical care costs of obesity: An instrumental variables approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 219-230.
    37. Black, Dan & Sanders, Seth & Taylor, Lowell, 2003. "Measurement of Higher Education in the Census and Current Population Survey," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 98, pages 545-554, January.
    38. Kreider, Brent & Pepper, John V., 2007. "Disability and Employment: Reevaluating the Evidence in Light of Reporting Errors," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 102, pages 432-441, June.
    39. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2009. "Do School Lunches Contribute to Childhood Obesity?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
    40. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-475, March.
    41. 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.
    42. Courtemanche, Charles & Pinkston, Joshua C. & Stewart, Jay, 2015. "Adjusting body mass for measurement error with invalid validation data," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 275-293.
    43. Keisuke Hirano & Jack R. Porter, 2012. "Impossibility Results for Nondifferentiable Functionals," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(4), pages 1769-1790, July.
    44. 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.
    45. Ver Ploeg, Michele & Ralston, Katherine L., 2008. "Food Stamps and Obesity: What Do We Know?," Economic Information Bulletin 58640, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    46. John Cawley, 2004. "The Impact of Obesity on Wages," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 39(2).
    47. Burgstahler, Rebecca & Gundersen, Craig & Garasky, Steven B., 2012. "The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Financial Stress, and Childhood Obesity," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 1-14, April.
    48. Hausman, J. A. & Abrevaya, Jason & Scott-Morton, F. M., 1998. "Misclassification of the dependent variable in a discrete-response setting," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 239-269, September.
    49. Xiaohong Chen & Han Hong & Denis Nekipelov, 2011. "Nonlinear Models of Measurement Errors," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(4), pages 901-937, December.
    50. Charles F. Manski & John V. Pepper, 2009. "More on monotone instrumental variables," Econometrics Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 12(s1), pages 200-216, January.
    51. Ian M. McCarthy & Daniel L. Millimet & Manan Roy, 2014. "Bounding Treatment Effects: Stata Command for the Partial Identification of the Average Treatment Effect with Endogenous and Misreported Treatment Assignment," Emory Economics 1407, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Charles J. Courtemanche & Augustine Denteh & Rusty Tchernis, 2018. "Estimating the Associations between SNAP and Food Insecurity, Obesity, and Food Purchases with Imperfect Administrative Measures of Participation," NBER Working Papers 24412, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Rusty Tchernis & Lorenzo N. Almada, 2016. "Measuring Effects of SNAP on Obesity at the Intensive Margin," Working Papers 2016-019, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    3. Lorenzo Almada & Ian McCarthy, 2017. "It's a Cruel Summer: Household Responses to Reductions in Government Nutrition Assistance," NBER Working Papers 23633, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Pierre Nguimkeu & Augustine Denteh & Rusty Tchernis, 2017. "On the Estimation of Treatment Effects with Endogenous Misreporting," NBER Working Papers 24117, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. repec:eee:jeborg:v:143:y:2017:i:c:p:45-57 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Mittag, Nikolas, 2016. "Correcting for Misreporting of Government Benefits," IZA Discussion Papers 10266, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Bharadwaj, Prashant & Pai, Mallesh M. & Suziedelyte, Agne, 2017. "Mental health stigma," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 57-60.
    8. 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, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 236213, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

    More about this item

    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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:emo:wp2003:1502. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sue Mialon). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/deemous.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.