NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Ryan E. Kessler

Brown University

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Institutional Affiliation: Brown University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2019The Effect of SNAP on the Composition of Purchased Foods: Evidence and Implications
with Justine S. Hastings, Jesse M. Shapiro: w25953
We use detailed data from a large retail panel to study the effect of participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on the composition and nutrient content of foods purchased for at-home consumption. We find that the effect of SNAP participation is small relative to the cross-sectional variation in most of the outcomes we consider. Estimates from a model relating the composition of a household’s food purchases to the household’s current level of food spending imply that closing the gap in food spending between high- and low-SES households would not close the gap in summary measures of food healthfulness.
 
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