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

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  • Lorenzo Almada
  • Ian M. McCarthy
  • Rusty Tchernis

Abstract

There is an increasing perception among policy makers that food stamp benefits contribute positively to adult obesity rates. We show that these results are heavily dependent on one's assumptions regarding the accuracy of reported food stamp participation. When allowing for misreporting, we find no evidence that SNAP participation significantly increases the probability of being obese or overweight among adults. Our results also highlight the inherent bias and inconsistency of common point estimates when ignoring misreporting, with treatment effects from instrumental variable methods exceeding the non-parametric upper bounds by over 200% in some cases.

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  • 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?," NBER Working Papers 21596, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21596
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. repec:eee:ehbiol:v:31:y:2018:i:c:p:150-163 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Almada, Lorenzo & McCarthy, Ian M., 2017. "It's a cruel summer: Household responses to reductions in government nutrition assistance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 45-57.
    4. Travers Barclay Child & Elena Nikolova, 2017. "War and Social Attitudes," UCL SSEES Economics and Business working paper series 2017-5, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES).
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Mittag, Nikolas, 2016. "Correcting for Misreporting of Government Benefits," IZA Discussion Papers 10266, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Fayaz Farkhad, Bita & Meyerhoefer, Chad D. & Dearden, James A., 2017. "The within-month pattern of medical utilization among SNAP participants," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258361, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    9. Fayaz Farkhad, Bita & Meyerhoefer, Chad D., 2018. "The Impact of Participation in SNAP on Labor Force Decisions," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 274180, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    10. Child, Travers Barclay & Nikolova, Elena, 2018. "War and Social Attitudes," GLO Discussion Paper Series 279, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    11. Leschewski, Andrea M. & Weatherspoon, Dave D., 2018. "The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Current Restricted Expenditures," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 273846, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    12. Meyer, Bruce D. & Mittag, Nikolas & Goerge, Robert M., 2018. "Errors in Survey Reporting and Imputation and Their Effects on Estimates of Food Stamp Program Participation," IZA Discussion Papers 11776, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Bharadwaj, Prashant & Pai, Mallesh M. & Suziedelyte, Agne, 2017. "Mental health stigma," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 57-60.
    14. 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, Boston, Massachusetts 236213, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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    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

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