U.S. Food and Nutrition Programs
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.
We thank Dorian Carloni, Elora Ditton and Andrea Kwan for excellent research assistance. We appreciate comments provided by Marianne Bitler, Jeffrey Liebman, Robert Moffitt, Zoe Neuberger, Dottie Rosenbaum, and James Ziliak. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
US Food and Nutrition Programs, Hilary Hoynes, Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach. in Economics of Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, Volume 1, Moffitt. 2016