Panel: Using the PSID to Evaluate SNAP’s Effectiveness
(Poverty and Income Policy)

Friday, November 3, 2017: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Burnham (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Laura Tiehen, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Panel Chairs:  James P. Ziliak, University of Kentucky
Discussants:  Jonathan Schwabish, Urban Institute

The Multi-Generational Effects of the Food Stamp Program
Chloe N. East, University of Colorado, Denver and Marianne Page, University of California, Davis

Assessing the Effectiveness of SNAP By Examining Extramarginal Participants
David Johnson1, Robert Schoeni1, Laura Tiehen2 and Jennifer C. Cornman3, (1)University of Michigan, (2)U.S. Department of Agriculture, (3)Jennifer C. Cornman Consulting

Heat or Eat? Extreme Weather Shocks and Food Security of SNAP Households in the U.S.
Jiyoon Kim, University of Michigan; Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—formerly the Food Stamp Program— is the United States’ first line of defense against hunger, providing monthly benefits to low-income households to purchase food.  The program reached about 14 percent of the Nation’s population in an average month in 2016, and program expenditures reached almost $71 billion in that year.  In light of the critical role of SNAP in the social safety net and the significant federal investment in the program, it is important to examine the program’s effectiveness.  The three papers in this panel use the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to evaluate the effect of SNAP on food spending and health, including effects that reach across generations.  The PSID is the nation’s longest running, nationally representative panel study with information collected on the same families for almost five decades.  The papers exploit many of the advantages of the PSID for research on SNAP.  East and Page examine whether the effects of SNAP receipt in utero and during childhood spill over to later generations’ health, using the information on multiple generations of the same PSID families.  Johnson and coauthors rely on the consistent and high-quality information on SNAP participation and food expenditures over almost four decades to provide insight into whether SNAP benefits promote greater increases in food spending than would an equivalent cash transfer.  Katare and coauthors use multiple years of the data to exploit a quasi-natural experiment to identify the effects of SNAP benefits on health outcomes.  The panel will capitalize on the longevity of the PSID data collection of a nationally representative and genealogically-based sample to provide important evidence on the effectiveness of SNAP.

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