Travis Smith (University of Georgia)

Thursday, October 13, 2022 - 3:40 pm to 5:00 pm
Event Type: 

Description: Labor-Public Economics Workshop and Department Seminar: Travis Smith (University of Georgia)

Location: 368A Heady Hall

Contact Person: Katherine Harris-Lagoudakis

Title: Aging out of WIC and Child Nutrition: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design

Abstract: The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is the third largest food assistance program in the United States. Child participants lose WIC in the month following their fifth birthday. We use this exogenous program rule and find declines in diet quality reaching nearly 30% for those who have yet to transition into kindergarten. Decreases are mainly driven by reduced consumption of healthier WIC-targeted foods, particularly among children who are prone to lower-quality diets. We find no effects on caloric intake. We discuss the policy implications of our findings, such as allowing children to stay on WIC until they enter kindergarten. We calculate a back-of-the-envelope program cost increase for such a policy at $89 million for food packages, or about 1.7% of the current $5 billion program cost.