This paper uses nationally representative data to describe a monthly cycle in food expenditure and food intake by food stamp recipients. Food expenditure peaks sharply in the fIrst three days after food stamps are received. Actual food intake drops at the end of the month, for some foods and some people, although food intake over time is always smoother than food expenditure. The food stamp cycle has implications for two areas of research: the measurement ofhunger and food insecurity in the United States, and the measurement ofthe impact ofthe U.S. Food Stamp Program.


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