Do SNAP Recipients Get the Best Prices?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We developed an expensiveness index and used the Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey data set to examine empirically whether Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants pay higher prices compared with nonqualifying and qualifying, but nonparticipating, households. Purchasers' ability to minimize food expenditures has significant effects on the program's effectiveness and on participants' food security. Using ordinary least squares and two techniques that control for the endogeneity of SNAP participation, we found no significant effect of SNAP participation on food prices. Moreover, we found that SNAP participants pay, on average, lower prices than do nonparticipants. We conclude by providing suggestions for policy improvements and implications for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-159
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Applied Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • FoodAPS
  • SNAP
  • consumer behavior
  • food purchasing decisions


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