Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - 12:00pm
Jinglin Feng

In fiscal year 2018, more than 40 million Americans participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the nation's largest domestic food and nutrition assistance program for low-income Americans. Recent studies have shown that the effectiveness of SNAP in reducing food insecurity, however, the effect of SNAP on dietary quality and nutrient content of food is mixed. This paper aims to study the effect of current SNAP participation on dietary quality, which is measured by a composite Healthy Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010) score. We use the 2012 USDA’s National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS) to compare dietary quality between SNAP households and non-SNAP households. We compare the effect of SNAP on food-at-home (FAH) HEI-2010 scores to the effect of SNAP on combined FAH with food-away-from-home (FAFH) HEI-2010 scores. We employ two different identification strategies: propensity score matching (PSM) and instrumental variable (IV) estimation to address potential selection bias. We find that SNAP has no significant effect on households’ FAH or combined HEI-2010 scores or over the entire HEI distribution. 

Part of the Energy and Environmental Economics and Policy (EEEP) Seminar Series—Fall 2020

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