The Persistence of Healthy Behaviors in Food Purchasing
84 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2018 Last revised: 24 Aug 2021
Date Written: July 12, 2021
When a policy gives temporary incentives for healthy behaviors, how long does the impact last? I study the U.S. Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, which gives vouchers for healthy foods. Using household-level scanner data and exploiting a reform of the program, I find that the subsidies make purchases healthier, but the effect is short-lived. Demand model estimates imply that price differences between healthy and unhealthy foods play a large role in decreasing the program’s impact.
Keywords: Consumer Behavior, Dietary Choices, Long-Term Policy Effects, WIC, Food Subsidy
JEL Classification: D12, I12, L66, I38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation