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Does the Food Stamp Program Really Increase Obesity? The Importance of Accounting for Misclassification Errors

  • Vassilopoulos, Achilleas
  • Drichoutis, Andreas
  • Nayga, Rodolfo
  • Lazaridis, Panagiotis

Over the last few decades, the prevalence of obesity among US citizens has grown rapidly, especially among low-income individuals. This has led to questions about the effectiveness of nutritional assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamps Program (FSP). Results from previous studies generally suggest that FSP participation increases obesity. This finding is however based on analyses that assumed that participants do not misclassify their program participation. Significant misclassification errors have been reported in the literature. Using propensity score matching estimation and a new method to conduct extensive sensitivity analysis, we find that this finding is quite sensitive to misclassification errors above 10% and to functional form assumptions.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 28768.

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Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:28768
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  1. Neeraj Kaushal, 2006. "Do food stamps cause obesity? Evidence from immigrant experience," Working Papers 0607, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  2. Andrea Ichino & Fabrizia Mealli & Tommaso Nannicini, 2008. "From temporary help jobs to permanent employment: what can we learn from matching estimators and their sensitivity?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 305-327.
  3. Millimet, Daniel L. & Tchernis, Rusty, 2009. "On the Specification of Propensity Scores, With Applications to the Analysis of Trade Policies," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27(3), pages 397-415.
  4. Odelia Rosin, 2008. "The Economic Causes Of Obesity: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(4), pages 617-647, 09.
  5. Charles L. Baum II, 2010. "The Effects of Food Stamps on Obesity," Working Papers 201003, Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance.
  6. 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.
  7. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2010. "The Credibility Revolution in Empirical Economics: How Better Research Design is Taking the Con out of Econometrics," Working Paper Series of the German Council for Social and Economic Data 142, German Council for Social and Economic Data (RatSWD).
  8. Shapiro, Jesse & Glaeser, Edward & Cutler, David, 2003. "Why Have Americans Become More Obese," Scholarly Articles 2640583, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Alberto Abadie & David Drukker & Jane Leber Herr & Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Implementing matching estimators for average treatment effects in Stata," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 4(3), pages 290-311, September.
  10. Heckman, James J. & Navarro, Salvador, 2003. "Using Matching, Instrumental Variables and Control Functions to Estimate Economic Choice Models," IZA Discussion Papers 768, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson & Jay Bhattacharya, 2005. "Welfare-Enhancing Technological Change and the Growth of Obesity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 253-257, May.
  12. Donald B. Rubin, 2003. "Nested multiple imputation of NMES via partially incompatible MCMC," Statistica Neerlandica, Netherlands Society for Statistics and Operations Research, vol. 57(1), pages 3-18.
  13. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2006. "Large Sample Properties of Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 235-267, 01.
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