Food Instability and Academic Achievement: A Quasi-Experiment Using SNAP Benefit Timing


Journal Article

© 2018 AERA. Although social policies aimed at low-income families are thought to promote children’s educational success, little research has examined how these policies are related to children’s academic achievement. This article focuses on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the United States’ largest food assistance program. Using administrative data on over 148,000 SNAP-receiving public school children, we analyze the recency of SNAP benefit transfer and children’s end-of-grade math and reading achievement test scores. Results indicate differences in students’ math and reading performance based on the recency of SNAP benefit transfer. Although the relationship is stronger for reading than for math, the relationship between students’ test scores and SNAP transfer is roughly curvilinear. Test scores peak in the third week following benefit transfer.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gassman-Pines, A; Bellows, L

Published Date

  • October 1, 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 55 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 897 - 927

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-8312

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3102/0002831218761337

Citation Source

  • Scopus