Exploring Different Aspects of SNAP Using Survey and Administrative Data: Income, Employment, and Food Spending Patterns
(Poverty and Income Policy)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
This panel explores these issues through research that uses a combination of both survey and administrative data. The first paper presents the results of a study using data from the National Health Interview Survey that compared cost-related medication adherence for SNAP participants versus a statistically-matched non-participant group. Although SNAP provides non-cash benefits for the purchase of food, the study finds that it also plays an important income support role by leading to better medication adherence for older people who participate in it. The second paper explores SNAP as an employment-support program by presenting the results of an evaluation of an ABAWD work requirement on SNAP receipt and employment for a Midwestern state that conducted a phased-in rollout of the requirement in 2014. Using a difference-in-difference approach, the study finds that the ABAWD work requirement reduced SNAP receipt and had employment effects for those exposed to the requirement. The third paper uses data from the USDA’s National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey to explore spending patterns among SNAP recipients and the relationship with proximity to their primary food store. The authors find that the closer the recipient household to their primary food store the “smoother” their spending. They also find that recipient households, on average, shop at a primary food store that is farther away than their nearest supermarkets and that the primary store offers lower-cost food. This suggests that efforts to offer SNAP benefits in shorter cycles (e.g., twice per month or weekly) might negatively affect those households that choose lower-cost, but farther away primary food stores.
This panel fits well with this year’s conference theme by demonstrating that different, and varying data sources can prove critical to our understanding of the complexities and goals of large, federal safety net programs like SNAP. The papers reflect work using household survey data and administrative data from state agencies and covers three critical aspects of SNAP.