It's a Cruel Summer: Household Responses to Reductions in Government Nutrition Assistance

35 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2017

See all articles by Lorenzo Almada

Lorenzo Almada

Columbia University

Ian McCarthy

Emory University - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 2017

Abstract

The appropriate size and scope of government nutrition assistance programs is a regular source of debate among policy-makers, and with calls to reduce government benefits, a clear understanding of household responses to any proposed benefit reduction is critical. Exploiting the design of U.S. nutrition assistance programs, we examine how low-income households reallocate their budgets following an exogenous reduction in nutrition assistance benefits. The magnitude of our results suggests that the budget for an average low-income household with children is severely inflexible and likely unable to absorb more than a $2 to $3 reduction in nutrition benefits per child per week.

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Suggested Citation

Almada, Lorenzo and McCarthy, Ian, It's a Cruel Summer: Household Responses to Reductions in Government Nutrition Assistance (July 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23633. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3011111

Lorenzo Almada (Contact Author)

Columbia University

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Ian McCarthy

Emory University - Department of Economics ( email )

201 Dowman Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

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