What Can We Learn About the Effects of Food Stamps on Obesity in the Presence of Misreporting?

63 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2016

See all articles by Lorenzo Almada

Lorenzo Almada

Columbia University

Ian M. McCarthy

Emory University - Department of Economics

Rusty Tchernis

Georgia State University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 2015

Abstract

There is an increasing perception among policy makers that food stamp benefits contribute positively to adult obesity rates. We show that these results are heavily dependent on one's assumptions regarding the accuracy of reported food stamp participation. When allowing for misreporting, we find no evidence that SNAP participation significantly increases the probability of being obese or overweight among adults. Our results also highlight the inherent bias and inconsistency of common point estimates when ignoring misreporting, with treatment effects from instrumental variable methods exceeding the non-parametric upper bounds by over 200% in some cases.

Suggested Citation

Almada, Lorenzo and McCarthy, Ian M. and Tchernis, Rusty, What Can We Learn About the Effects of Food Stamps on Obesity in the Presence of Misreporting? (September 2015). NBER Working Paper No. w21596, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2888737

Lorenzo Almada (Contact Author)

Columbia University

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Ian M. McCarthy

Emory University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Rusty Tchernis

Georgia State University - Department of Economics ( email )

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