The Effect of SNAP on Food Purchases and Family Nutrition

Principal Investigators
Economics & Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University
Department of Economics, Brown University
Funded on

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.

Evidence

Showing 1 - 2 of 2

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.