Start Date: February 2020

ID #: 86845

Principal Investigator: Shu Wen Ng, PhD

Organization: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Funding Round: HER Round 12

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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.

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