The Effect of SNAP on Obesity in the Presence of Endogenous Misreporting

Augustine Denteh
Start date

Monday, 19 Oct 2020, 17:30

End date

Monday, 19 Oct 2020, 18:30


This paper estimates the effect of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on adult obesity addressing self-selection and endogenous misreporting of participation.


There is increasing evidence suggesting that the consequences of reporting errors in program participation may be severe enough to render the sign of the treatment effect not to be identified by standard methods. Using a two-step procedure that accounts for endogenous misreporting of participation, this paper estimates the causal impact of SNAP on obesity using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth–1979 cohort.

From a simple partial observability model of participation and misreporting, I predict probabilities of participation which are used to consistently estimate the average effect of SNAP on body mass index (BMI). I rely on exclusion restrictions for program participation and reporting errors for identification.

The estimated misreporting model confirms some prior findings in the literature regarding the correlates of reporting error. However, contrary to most previous studies, I do not find any evidence of a statistically significant effect of SNAP on BMI.

More information

More information on this seminar can be found on Registration is required and can also be done here.


  • Tinna Laufey Ásgeirsdóttir (University of Iceland)
  • Ana Inés Balsa (Universidad de Montevideo)
  • John Cawley (Cornell University)
  • Hans van Kippersluis (Erasmus University Rotterdam)