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
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.