Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Tatiana Homonoff (NYU) presents Is There an Nth of the Month Effect? The Timing of SNAP Issuance, Food Expenditures, and Grocery Prices (with Jacob Goldin (Stanford) & Katherine Meckel (Texas A&M)) at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex Raskolnikov and Wojciech Kopczuk:
Previous research on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) suggests that participants consume more food on days immediately following benefit issuance, prompting retailers to raise food prices to capture a portion of the transfer. Partly in response to such findings, some have called for states to stagger benfit issuance over multiple days of the month. To study the effect of staggering benefits, we link variation among states in the timing of benefit issuance to a large panel of transaction-level data from households and retailers. We document large intra-month cycles in food expenditures among SNAP-eligible households that closely track state issuance policies. However, we rule out economically signficant effects on retailer pricing, which suggests that staggering benfits would not meaningfully shape the incidence of SNAP benfits.