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12:45 PM

Families who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps) use fewer discount coupons and allot more money for spending on food than they would without assistance, according to a soon-to-be-released study

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Families who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps) use fewer discount coupons and allot more money for spending on food than they would without assistance, according to a forthcoming study by Justine Hastings and Jesse Shapiro, professors of economics.

Why would they go through the time and trouble of couponing and shopping for the best deals when they are playing with "house money".

Hastings and Shapiro found that “every $100 in SNAP benefits leads to between $50 and $60 extra dollars of food spending each month,” Hastings wrote in an email to the Brown University Daily Herald.

According to the study, cash benefits of the same amount don't predict the same effect, Hastings added. Furthermore, the study found that SNAP beneficiaries are slightly less likely to buy less-expensive store brands and redeem discount coupons on SNAP-eligible food products.

 Understanding if “SNAP has larger effects on food spending than cash benefits would is important for understanding its effects on the economy and on the lives of recipients,” she wrote.

According to Shapiro, the authors’ ability to more accurately calculate estimates for the effect of SNAP on food spending sets this research apart from similar studies. Hastings and Shapiro analyzed over six billion data points, including POS scanner data, in their study.

 Scanner data is composed of any data collected when an individual checks out at a grocery store — including payment method and loyalty program history — and can be analyzed to compare the behaviors of SNAP recipients with other shoppers.

A key concept that the study explores is "mental accounting" a term devised by University of Chicago economics professor and Nobel Laureate Richard Thaler to describe a consumer's tendency
to budget specific amounts of money for various categories of spending.

Italicized text indicates our editorial comments.
3:00 PM

Mobile Security in EBT

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There have been many efforts to add mobile delivery of EBT services to a payment system which up to now has exclusively offered over-the-counter delivery of benefits. As with any payment system, a mobile dimension added a new layer of security concerns.

 The EBT Mobile Security Working Group of the eGovernment Payments Council has produced a white paper entitled Mobile Security in EBT. The paper is a definitive study of the security issues that would be involved if EBT beneficiaries are ever allowed to redeem their benefits via their mobile phones. The Council is a service of the Electronic Funds Transfer Association. The EBT mobile security white paper was edited and prepared for publishing by Chaddsford Planning Associates.

Topics covered in Mobile Security in EBT include the challenges of securing EBT digital identities, the challenges of establishing proof of digital identity in EBT, adopting 2 factor authentication for mobile EBT, regulatory issues surrounding mobile digital EBT, controlling data access, security while making the transition to mobile ID, the value proposition for secure mobile digital EBT. Mobile Security in EBT also includes 3 use cases for secure mobile program delivery.