According to USDA Economic Research Service 11.1 percent of all US households were food insecure during some period during 2006. That percentage of food insecure households increased to 14.5 in 2010. In the interim, the country experienced a severe economic recession likely contributing to the increase. On the other hand, government food assistance programs likely mitigated the increase. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp program) is the largest food assistance program and provides benefits to qualifying low-income households to be used for purchasing food. Of note, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) passed in February of 2009 expanded access to SNAP and enhanced program benefits. This research investigates whether an additional SNAP benefit dollar reduces household food-insecurity. The ARRA exogenously increased monthly SNAP benefits to households. We use this natural experiment to identify the causal effect of SNAP benefits on household food insecurity. Our findings suggest that a dollar increase in per-capita household benefits decreases the probability that the household was food insecure during the last 30 days by about .5%.


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