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Selected Publications

Inside the War on Poverty: The Impact of the Food Stamp Program on Birth Outcomes

Almond, Douglas, Hilary Williamson. Hoynes, and Diane Schanzenbach. “Inside the War on Poverty: The Impact of Food Stamps on Birth Outcomes.” Review of Economics and Statistics, May 2011, Vol. 93, No. 2: 387-403.


This paper evaluates the health impacts of a signature initiative of the War on Poverty: the introduction of the modern Food Stamp Program (FSP). Using variation in the month FSP began operating in each U.S. county, we find that pregnancies exposed to FSP three months prior to birth yielded deliveries with increased birth weight, with the largest gains at the lowest birth weights. We also find small but statistically insignificant improvements in neonatal mortality. We conclude that the sizable increase in income from FSP improved birth outcomes for both whites and African Americans, with larger impacts for African American mothers.

Additional Information

Media: Jared Bernstein Blog, WonkBlog, White House Blog

Research Summaries: Microeconomic Insights

Data and programs: RESTAT data archive website

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Published Article (327KB)

Erratum (10/21/12) (110KB)

Electronic Appendix (270KB)

Slides (6MB)