Household Hardship and Stimulus Payments during the Pandemic: Differences Across Ethnic Minorities in the United States

This study examines the impact of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Economic Impact Payments (EIP) on alleviating household hardship, primarily food insufficiency and expense difficulty, among ethnic groups in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. Using data from the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey (HPS) from 2020-2022, the study investigates who received the payments and how they used them. The study employs quasi-difference-in-difference models to address the issue of non-repetitive samples in the HPS dataset. The findings suggest that Black, Hispanic, and Other Races individuals reported consistently higher probabilities of food insufficiency and expense difficulty compared to Whites and Asians. The study further reveals that individuals across all ethnic groups reported less food insufficiency or expense difficulty after the distribution of the ARPA EIP in March 2021. In addition, individuals of all ethnic minority groups who used EIP for saving had a larger decrease in the probability of food insufficiency compared with the corresponding change for Whites. The study highlights the importance of targeted stimulus policies to address distinct problems faced by different ethnic minority groups.

Authors: Zheng Tian, Claudia Schmidt, Stephan J. Goetz

Publication: Presented at 2023 Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Meeting   Date Published: July 23, 2023

Read publication


All Publications