Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: The Effect of Food Stamps on Children's Health: Evidence from Immigrants' Changing Eligibility

Friday, November 13, 2015 : 9:10 AM
Zamora (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Chloe N. East, University of California, Davis
The Food Stamp program was one of the largest safety net programs in the Great Recession and was especially important for families with children--25% of all children received Food Stamp benefits in 2011. However, the existing evidence on the effectiveness of the Food Stamp program is very limited because it is a federal program with little quasi-experimental variation with which to estimate these effects. I utilize the only recent variation of this type--changes in immigrant families' eligibility across states and over time from 1996 to 2003--to estimate the effect of Food Stamps on children's health. With the National Health Interview Survey I find that the loss of access to Food Stamps when children are in utero to age 5 leads to declines in their health outcomes at ages 6-16. My findings suggest that there are important medium-run effects of access to this program and that these effects appear as early as school-age, at much younger ages than previously documented.