WIC Participation and Relative Quality of Household Food Purchases: Evidence from Foodaps

53 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2018 Last revised: 30 Nov 2018

See all articles by Di Fang

Di Fang

University of Arkansas

Michael R. Thomsen

University of Arkansas

Rodolfo M. Nayga

University of Arkansas - Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences; Norsk institutt for landbruks√łkonomisk forskning (NILF)

Aaron Novotny

University of Arkansas

Date Written: November 2018

Abstract

We examine the effect of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) on the quality of household food purchases using the National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS) and propensity score matching. A healthy purchasing index (HPI) is used to measure nutritional quality of household food purchases. WIC foods explain the improvement in quality of food purchases, not self-selection of more nutrition-conscious households into the program. The improvement in purchase quality was driven entirely by WIC participating households who redeemed WIC foods during the interview week. There was no significant difference between WIC-participants who did not redeem WIC foods and eligible non-participants. In this sample, there is no evidence that lack of access to clinics has adverse effects on participation nor is there evidence that HPI depends on supermarket access. A supervised machine learning process supports our main conclusion on the importance of WIC foods.

Suggested Citation

Fang, Di and Thomsen, Michael R. and Nayga, Rodolfo M. and Novotny, Aaron, WIC Participation and Relative Quality of Household Food Purchases: Evidence from Foodaps (November 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w25291, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3290426

Di Fang (Contact Author)

University of Arkansas ( email )

Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

Michael R. Thomsen

University of Arkansas ( email )

Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

Rodolfo M. Nayga

University of Arkansas - Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences ( email )

United States

Norsk institutt for landbruks√łkonomisk forskning (NILF)

NO-0030 Oslo
Norway

Aaron Novotny

University of Arkansas

Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

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