Using economic modeling, this study seeks to advance nutritional equity by identifying ways to lower economic barriers to healthy eating among low-income households with children. This study will identify mechanisms for directing unhealthy food and beverage tax revenues towards healthy incentives, particularly through existing federally-funded, but local and state-run programs such as WIC and SNAP. A flexible demand system model will be used to estimate how households respond to price changes across food/beverage categories given budgetary constraints. The analysis will focus on WIC and/or SNAP participating households that also have a child or children 0 to 8 years of age. Price elasticity estimates will be used to stimulate how price reductions via different degrees of incentives on foods and beverages meeting WIC nutrition standards will change purchase patterns. Furthermore, estimates of price elasticities of demand will be used to stimulate price increases via taxes on unhealthy ultra-processed products among WIC and/or SNAP households with children. The combined (incentive + disincentive) policies and their impact on food purchase patterns will be used to identify mechanisms at the state/local levels for implementing incentives.
Studying the impact of combining fiscal incentives and disincentives to improve healthy food purchases by low-income households with children
The USDA Online Purchasing Pilot, which allows SNAP participants to shop and pay for groceries online, rapidly expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic. From March 2020 to March 2021, the number of participating states increased from 5 to 47. This brief assesses whether the Pilot promotes healthy food access (using the … More
Acceptability, Preference, and No-Show Rates for In-Person and Phone-Based Consultations at Nine WIC Centers in New York City Before and During COVID-19
Access to WIC benefits typically requires an in-person visit to a WIC center, however this became a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic due to recommendations for social distancing to minimize and prevent the spread of the virus. As a result, in-person requirements were removed for all visits, except first time … More
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest United States Department of Agriculture federal nutrition assistance program. As an entitlement program, SNAP is designed to expand as incomes fall, enabling the program to respond quickly when need increases. For example, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, SNAP served an average … More