In this paper, we examine the relationship between the timing of food stamp receipt and purchasing patterns. We combine data on state distribution dates of food stamps with scanner data on a panel of households purchases tracked between 2004 and 2011. We find that purchases of a variety of goods are meaningfully higher on receipt days, consistent with previous work that suggests that recipients are very impatient. Additionally, and importantly, estimates indicate that when food stamp receipt days fall on weekends, total monthly purchases within the same households are affected. In particular, monthly purchases of beer are higher when food stamps are distributed on a weekend rather than in months where benefits are distributed on weekdays. For these households, total beer purchases are between 4 and 5% higher in those months. Among households ineligible for food stamps, no effect is identified. These results demonstrate that the ‘day-of-the-week’ of SNAP treatment may have important impacts on household purchase habits.
- Food Stamps
- SNAP Benefits