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Income Volatility and Household Consumption: The Impact of Food Assistance Programs

Richard Blundell and Luigi Pistaferri
The Journal of Human Resources
Vol. 38, Special Issue on Income Volatility and Implications for Food Assistance Programs (2003), pp. 1032-1050
DOI: 10.2307/3558980
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3558980
Page Count: 19
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Income Volatility and Household Consumption: The Impact of Food Assistance Programs
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Abstract

The impact of food assistance programs (food stamps) in a period of rising income inequality in the United States is analyzed using 1978-92 PSID data. We assess to what extent food assistance can be viewed as an effective insurance to permanent shocks to income. The results show that the program has a substantial consumption-smoothing effect in the low-income population: The response of food consumption to a permanent income shock is a third lower after accounting for the monetary value of food stamps.

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