Food Stamps and Food Insecurity: Does Reporting Error Influence this Relationship for Households with Children?

Craig G. Gundersen, Iowa State University
Brent Kreider, Iowa State University

Food stamps take a central role in the efforts to eradicate food insecurity and hunger among children in the United States. Given this role, it may be surprising – at least on the surface – that children in households receiving food stamps are far more likely to be food insecure than children in eligible households not receiving food stamps. These higher rates (which remain after controlling for relevant covariates) have been ascribed to many factors including the possible misreporting of food insecurity. We investigate, using nonparametric methods, how conclusions about relationships between food stamps and food insecurity vary depending on a researcher’s maintained assumptions about the nature and degree of food insecurity reporting errors. Our work contrasts with the previous literature on food insecurity which has implicitly made the strong assumption that food insecurity is reported without error. We use data from the Core Food Security Module of the 2003 Current Population Survey.

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Presented in Session 98: Public Policy and Child Well-Being