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The Real Effect of SNAP Benefits for Food Insecurity

Author

Listed:
  • Davis, David E.

    () (Department of Economics, South Dakota State University)

  • Huang, Rui

    (Bates White LLC)

Abstract

This research investigates the effect of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp program) for food insecurity. SNAP provides benefits to qualifying households for purchasing food. Some have suggested that SNAP benefits may be less effective in some areas because of geographic differences in food prices (Leibtag, 2007; Nord and Hopwood, 2007). We include food prices in our analysis to control for price differences. We find that holding food prices constant, an additional SNAP dollar per-capita reduces the probability of food insecurity by about 0.5 percent. However, we find that marginal effects vary with the level of benefit received and that marginal effects are largest at low benefit levels. Furthermore, we find that even though household incomes are higher when benefits are low, the probability of food insecurity is larger than when benefits are higher. Higher food prices decrease the purchasing power of SNAP benefits, reducing food security.

Suggested Citation

  • Davis, David E. & Huang, Rui, 2013. "The Real Effect of SNAP Benefits for Food Insecurity," SDSU Working Papers in Progress 13001, South Dakota State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sda:workpa:13001
    as

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    File URL: http://repec-sda.sdstate.edu/repec/sda/pdf/The_Real_Effect_of_Food_Stamp_Benefits_e.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2013
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    File URL: http://repec-sda.sdstate.edu/repec/sda/pdf/TheRealEffectofFoodStampBenefits.pdf
    File Function: Revised 2nd version, 2014
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Coleman-Jensen, Alisha & Nord, Mark & Andrews, Margaret S. & Carlson, Steven, 2011. "Household Food Security in the United States in 2010," Economic Research Report 118021, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    2. 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.
    3. Helen H. Jensen, 2002. "Food Insecurity and the Food Stamp Program," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1215-1228.
    4. Nord, Mark & Andrews, Margaret S. & Carlson, Steven, 2008. "Household Food Security in the United States, 2007," Economic Research Report 56483, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    5. Craig Gundersen & Victor Oliveira, 2001. "The Food Stamp Program and Food Insufficiency," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(4), pages 875-887.
    6. Steven T. Yen & Margaret Andrews & Zhuo Chen & David B. Eastwood, 2008. "Food Stamp Program Participation and Food Insecurity: An Instrumental Variables Approach," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 90(1), pages 117-132.
    7. Nord, Mark & Andrews, Margaret S. & Carlson, Steven, 2009. "Household Food Security in the United States, 2008," Economic Research Report 55953, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    SNAP; food assistance; food prices;

    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L13 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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