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It's a Cruel Summer: Household Responses to Reductions in Government Nutrition Assistance

Lorenzo Almada, Ian McCarthy

NBER Working Paper No. 23633
Issued in July 2017
NBER Program(s):Health Economics Program, Public Economics Program

The appropriate size and scope of government nutrition assistance programs is a regular source of debate among policy-makers, and with calls to reduce government benefits, a clear understanding of household responses to any proposed benefit reduction is critical. Exploiting the design of U.S. nutrition assistance programs, we examine how low-income households reallocate their budgets following an exogenous reduction in nutrition assistance benefits. The magnitude of our results suggests that the budget for an average low-income household with children is severely inflexible and likely unable to absorb more than a $2 to $3 reduction in nutrition benefits per child per week.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23633

Published: Lorenzo Almada & Ian M. McCarthy, 2017. "It's a Cruel Summer: Household Responses to Reductions in Government Nutrition Assistance," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, . citation courtesy of

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