The Effect of SNAP on the Composition of Purchased Foods: Evidence and Implications

50 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2019

See all articles by Justine S. Hastings

Justine S. Hastings

Brown University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Ryan E. Kessler

Brown University

Jesse M. Shapiro

Brown University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 10, 2019

Abstract

We use detailed data from a large retail panel to study the effect of participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on the composition and nutrient content of foods purchased for at-home consumption. We find that the effect of SNAP participation is small relative to the cross-sectional variation in most of the outcomes we consider. Estimates from a model relating the composition of a household’s food purchases to the household’s current level of food spending imply that closing the gap in food spending between high- and low-SES households would not close the gap in summary measures of food healthfulness.

Keywords: SNAP, nutrition, diet

JEL Classification: D12, H31, I12, I38

Suggested Citation

Hastings, Justine and Kessler, Ryan E. and Shapiro, Jesse M., The Effect of SNAP on the Composition of Purchased Foods: Evidence and Implications (June 10, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3401816 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3401816

Justine Hastings

Brown University ( email )

Box 1860
Providence, RI 02912
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Ryan E. Kessler

Brown University ( email )

Box 1860
Providence, RI 02912
United States

Jesse M. Shapiro (Contact Author)

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

64 Waterman Street
Providence, RI 02912
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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