Location: 360 Heady Hall
Abstract: The high incidence of food insecurity among low-income households is a matter of intense public concern, in part because food insecurity is detrimental to the well-being of children. While many food assistance recipients participate in multiple food programs, little is known about how various programs interact in creating a food safety net. We fill in this knowledge gap by developing and applying a new framework for assessing the causal effects of multiple program participation. We focus on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and assess the extent to which participation in both programs: (1) reduces food insecurity among school-age children compared with no participation in either program, and (2) amplifies the effect of participating in either program alone. Identifying causal effects of SNAP and NSLP is challenging because of a nonrandom selection of households into the programs and pervasive underreporting of food assistance in surveys. To estimate causal effects, we extend existing nonparametric treatment effect methods to accommodate a partially-ordered multiple treatment variable. To provide tight inferences, we construct and employ monotone instrumental variables (MIVs) based on household and local food environment attributes. Data on food security, program participation, and household characteristics come from the Food Security Supplement of the Current Population Survey (CPS). Also, we use food price data from the USDA’s Quarterly Food-at-Home Price Database (QFAHPD).
Contact Person: Wallace Huffman