Economics Seminar Series

Sarah Hamersma, Syracuse University.

Sarah Hamersma, Syracuse University

Sarah Hamersma, Syracuse University

How does SNAP access prior to pregnancy affect maternal and infant health outcomes?

Sarah Hamersma and Mitch McFarlane

Consistent access to healthy food even before pregnancy can play a role in maternal and child health. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides food assistance to low-income individuals, including those who do not yet have children (often classified as Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents, or ABAWDs). Our study uses ABAWD work requirement waivers – which vary within and across counties over a 15-year-period – as a measure of SNAP access for childless women. We use this variation to investigate pre-pregnancy SNAP access and the health of mothers and their infants. Using rich, population-wide Vital Statistics data combined with county-level SNAP policy data, we identify effects of SNAP on outcomes like birth weight, low and very low birth weight indicators, gestational age, preterm and very preterm indicators, APGAR scores, NICU admission, and mortality while avoiding challenges with selection into eligibility or participation. Our findings will provide insights into whether SNAP access is a useful vehicle pre-conception for women to improve both their own and their children’s outcomes.

DATE: Friday, March 1, 2024

TIME: 3:30-5:00 p.m.

LOCATION: Fronczak 444