NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

U.S. Food and Nutrition Programs

Hilary Hoynes, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

Chapter in NBER book Economics of Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, volume 1 (2016), Robert A. Moffitt, editor (p. 219 - 301)
Conference held December 5-6, 2014
Published in November 2016 by University of Chicago Press
© 2016 by the National Bureau of Economic Research

This chapter provides an overview of the patchwork of U.S. food and nutrition programs, with detailed discussions of SNAP (formerly the Food Stamp Program), WIC, and the school breakfast and lunch programs. Building on Currie’s (2003) review, we document the history and goals of the programs, and describe the current program rules. We also provide program statistics and how participation and costs have changed over time. The programs vary along how “in-kind” the benefits are, and we describe economic frameworks through which each can be analyzed. We then review the recent research on each program, focusing on studies that employ techniques that can isolate causal impacts. We conclude by highlighting gaps in current knowledge and promising areas for future research.

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This chapter first appeared as NBER working paper w21057, U.S. Food and Nutrition Programs, Hilary W. Hoynes, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach
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