Another Saturday Night: Food Stamp Timing and Monthly Consumption Patterns
27 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2016
Date Written: February 8, 2016
In this paper we examine the relationship between the timing of food stamp receipt and consumption patterns. We combine data on state distribution dates of food stamps with scanner data on a panel of households purchases tracked between 2004 and 2011. We find that purchases of a variety of goods are meaningfully higher on receipt days, suggesting that recipients are very impatient. Additionally, and importantly, estimates indicate that when food stamp receipt days fall on weekends, total monthly consumption within the same households is affected. In particular, monthly purchases of beer are higher when food stamps are distributed on weekend rather than in months where benefits are distributed on weekdays. For these households, total beer purchases are between 4 and 5 percent higher in those months. Among households ineligible for food stamps, no effect is identified.
Keywords: SNAP Benefits, Food Stamps, EBT, Impatience
JEL Classification: I1, I38, H75, D91
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