Safety Net Generosity Effects on Child Wellbeing

Megan Reynolds , University of Utah

In the United States, low-income individuals bear a disproportionate share of the health burden attributable to financial hardship and chronic stress. Increasing the generosity of social safety nets can help reduce this health burden by enhancing financial resources and reducing health-damaging stigma. I exploit variation in Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Unemployment Insurance across state-years to evaluate the extent to which social safety net generosity improves child health. I use the Panel Study of Income Dynamics in concert with novel dataset describing social safety net benefit generosity across states for the years 1997-2007. Preliminary analysis suggests that state social safety net generosity has a positive association with child health status reported by the primary caregiver and a positive association with child psychological well-being; these results are significant in the case of the former.

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 Presented in Session 196. Policies, Programs and Their Impacts on Health and Mortality