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Do SNAP Households Pay Different Prices throughout the Benefit Month?


Valizadeh, Pourya; Smith, Travis A.; & Ver Ploeg, Michele (Online ahead of print). Do SNAP Households Pay Different Prices throughout the Benefit Month?. Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy.


For households participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), food expenditures spike upon benefit arrival. We show the price component of expenditure is sensitive to benefit arrival: by the beginning of the fourth week of the benefit month, households pay 20% less on food items. This decline is not induced by changes in shopping behaviors (usage of SNAP, bulk purchases, on-sale, branded, and discount stores) but rather concentrated among a subset of households with financial constraints and/or a preference for higher-quality foods. Increased benefit adequacy and/or financial stability for participants could help households smooth their purchasing power.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Article Type


Year Published

Online ahead of print

Journal Title

Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy


Valizadeh, Pourya
Smith, Travis A.
Ver Ploeg, Michele


United States of America