Craig Gundersen

SNAP and obesity

SNAP has proven to be one of the most successful safety net programs since its implementation 50 years ago. This program has often come under attack throughout its history for many perceived problems (e.g., that it discourages labor force participation). Most recently, SNAP has come under attack for being perceived as one of the causes of the current rates of obesity found in the U.S. One response that has gained some traction is to restrict what can and cannot be purchased with SNAP.

Food insecurity among older adults

Reducing hunger risk among older Americans requires a concerted policy effort that is informed by rigorous research on the extent, causes, and consequences of food insecurity. In this report we provide a comprehensive portrait of the causes and consequences of food insecurity among adults age 50-59 in comparison to those in their 40s and those 60 and older.

Senior hunger in the United States: Differences across states and rural and urban areas

Many pressing questions remain regarding the extent, causes, and consequences of senior hunger in America.  Is the threat of senior hunger common across all states in the nation?  Are there differences in hunger risk across urban and rural areas?  In this follow-up study to our 2008 report entitled The Causes, Consequences, and Future of Senior Hunger in America we document the geographic distribution of senior hunger across states and metropolitan location.

The role of Food Stamps in consumption stabilization

The Food Stamp Program provides assistance to households with incomes and assets below fixed thresholds. Although it is the largest entitlement program in the social safety net, little is known about the effect of food stamps on stabilizing fluctuations in household income and consumption. To estimate the volatility of income and the attendant reduction in volatility due to food stamps we use data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics over 1980-1999 along with a model of income that admits permanent and transitory components as well as random growth rate heterogeneity.

Poverty and macroeconomic performance across space, race, and family structure

Understanding the link between poverty and economic growth is of long-standing interest, but heretofore it has not received much attention within the context of the dramatic changes in recent business-cycle conditions and social policies. In this paper we use state-level panel data from the 1981–2000 waves of the Current Population Survey to examine the impacts of the macroeconomy and welfare reform on family poverty. We estimate models of before-tax and after-tax poverty rates and squared poverty gaps for all families, by family structure, and by race.