Supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefit cycles and student disciplinary infractions

Lisa A. Gennetian, Roopa Seshadri, Nathan D. Hess, Aaron N. Winn, Robert M. Goerge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Does the timing and frequency of program benefits influence student school outcomes? The poor may be especially vulnerable to income scarcity at the end of welfare programbenefit cycles. Such scarcity may strain other aspects of family life and exacerbate children’s behavior problems. We use data fromthe Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and school disciplinary records to compare the incidence of disciplinary infractions at the beginning and end of months among Chicago Public School students in grades 5-8 whose families did and did not receive SNAP. Controlling for student and school characteristics, our estimates show that student disciplinary infractions generally spike at the end of the month irrespective of SNAP receipt status. However, spikes are exacerbated among students who receive SNAP benefits. The within-month difference in disciplinary infractions for students in SNAP recipient families is 7 percentage points larger than for nonrecipients. These differences are particularly pronounced for males.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-433
Number of pages31
JournalSocial Service Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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