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What Can We Learn About the Effects of Food Stamps on Obesity in the Presence of Misreporting?

Lorenzo Almada, Ian M. McCarthy, Rusty Tchernis

NBER Working Paper No. 21596
Issued in September 2015
NBER Program(s):Health Economics Program, Public Economics Program

There is an increasing perception among policy makers that food stamp benefits contribute positively to adult obesity rates. We show that these results are heavily dependent on one's assumptions regarding the accuracy of reported food stamp participation. When allowing for misreporting, we find no evidence that SNAP participation significantly increases the probability of being obese or overweight among adults. Our results also highlight the inherent bias and inconsistency of common point estimates when ignoring misreporting, with treatment effects from instrumental variable methods exceeding the non-parametric upper bounds by over 200% in some cases.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21596

Published: Lorenzo Almada & Ian McCarthy & Rusty Tchernis, 2016. "What Can We Learn about the Effects of Food Stamps on Obesity in the Presence of Misreporting?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 98(4), pages 997-1017. citation courtesy of

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