Issuance and Incidence: SNAP Benefit Cycles and Grocery Prices

43 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2019

See all articles by Jacob Goldin

Jacob Goldin

Stanford Law School

Tatiana Homonoff

New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service

Katherine Meckel

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 8, 2019

Abstract

Many safety-net programs issue benefits as lump-sum payments at regular intervals. We examine how the timing of benefit distribution can shape the incidence of the transfer. We use retail scanner data from a large and nationally representative sample of grocery stores along with state and time variation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). We document large, SNAP-induced intra-month cycles in food expenditures and customer composition. However, we find that retailers do not adjust prices based on these predictable patterns of customer demand. Our results illustrate how decisions about program administration can shape the incidence of in-kind transfers.

Suggested Citation

Goldin, Jacob and Homonoff, Tatiana and Meckel, Katherine, Issuance and Incidence: SNAP Benefit Cycles and Grocery Prices (October 8, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3466513 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3466513

Jacob Goldin (Contact Author)

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

Tatiana Homonoff

New York University (NYU) - Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service ( email )

The Puck Building
295 Lafayette Street, Second Floor
New York, NY 10012
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://wagner.nyu.edu/community/faculty/tatiana-homonoff#

Katherine Meckel

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics ( email )

5201 University Blvd.
College Station, TX 77843-4228
United States

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