Justine S. Hastings is a Professor of Economics and International and Public Affairs at Brown University and a Faculty Research Associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research. Her areas of expertise include research in Industrial Organization and Public Economics which address important economic and public policy questions. She has conducted academic research on topics such as market structure and competition, environment and energy regulation, advertising and consumer protection, consumer financial markets, health care, social safety-net programs, and markets for higher education. Her research employs diverse empirical techniques including field experiments, survey analysis, machine learning, predictive analytics, analysis of large administrative datasets, and structural demand and supply estimation. Her research was cited in the 2017 Nobel Prize scientific background materials, and has been used to shape public policy improvements around the world. Professor Hastings has served as an expert advisor on the Academic Research Council to the United States Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She is the founding director of Research Improving People’s Lives (RIPL), a nonprofit research institute using data and science to impact policy and improve lives. She has served as the Managing Editor for the International Journal on Industrial Organization, an Editorial Board member of the Journal of Economic Literature, and a Co-Editor for the Journal of Public Economics.
Does enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) encourage families to purchase healthier foods and thereby increase the nutrition of those families enrolled in the program?
To answer this central question, this study will use an event-study design coupled with new, high-scale commercial transaction data from a grocery retailer to provide precise evidence on the effect of SNAP receipt on the amount and composition of food purchases. The study will generate evidence on the effects of SNAP enrollment from early childhood through adulthood.
Researchers at Brown University released a working paper analyzing the effects of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on nutritional quality of purchased foods. Examining seven years of transaction records at a large U.S. grocery chain, the team found that SNAP participation had only a small effect on the nutritional quality of purchased foods.
Justine Hastings and Jesse M. Shapiro of Brown University released a paper in the American Economic Review analyzing the effects of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on household spending, finding that every hundred dollars in SNAP benefits leads to between $50 and $60 of additional food spending each month.