Hungry for Success? SNAP Timing, High-Stakes Exam Performance, and College Attendance
Timothy N. Bond
Jillian B. Carr
- American Economic Journal: Economic Policy (Forthcoming)
Monthly government transfer programs create cycles of consumption that track the timing of
benefit receipt. If these cycles correspond to critical moments of student learning and achieve-
ment, the timing of transfers may have important long-run implications for low-income students.
In this paper, we exploit state-level variation in the staggered timing of nutritional assistance
benefit issuance to analyze effects on academic achievement. Using individual-level data from
a large national college admissions exam, we find that taking this high-stakes exam in the last
two weeks of the SNAP benefit cycle reduces test scores and lowers the probability of attending
a 4-year college.
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