Snap and Paycheck Cycles

57 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2019

See all articles by Tim Beatty

Tim Beatty

University of California, Davis

Marianne P. Bitler

University of California, Davis - Departments of Economics and Agricultural Resource Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Xinzhe Cheng

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Cynthia van der Werf

University of California, Davis

Date Written: March 2019

Abstract

It is well documented that individuals do not spend SNAP benefits smoothly over the month after receipt. Rather, recipients spend a disproportionate share of benefits at the beginning of the benefit month. This has costs for recipients and stores. There is also evidence that other income streams, such as Social Security and paychecks, are not spent smoothly. The presence of these other income streams may bias estimates of the effects of this SNAP cycle on consumption for working SNAP beneficiaries and those who receive other government benefits. We use data from USDA’s National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey to explore how the SNAP cycle is affected by accounting for these other income streams. We find suggestive evidence that the cycle is more pronounced for workers who are paid on a weekly or monthly basis, but little evidence that cycles in other income streams mitigate or exacerbate the SNAP cycle.

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Suggested Citation

Beatty, Tim and Bitler, Marianne P. and Cheng, Xinzhe and van der Werf, Cynthia, Snap and Paycheck Cycles (March 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w25635, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3354285

Tim Beatty (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis ( email )

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Marianne P. Bitler

University of California, Davis - Departments of Economics and Agricultural Resource Economics ( email )

United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Xinzhe Cheng

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ( email )

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Washington, DC 20250
United States

Cynthia Van der Werf

University of California, Davis

One Shields Avenue
Apt 153
Davis, CA 95616
United States

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