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 Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides critical nutrition assistance to lower-income women, infants, and young children. During the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment has risen to levels greater than experienced during the Great Recession, and food insecurity has also increased, making WIC’s role more important … More
Policymakers worldwide are considering requiring warnings for sugary drinks. A growing number of experimental studies have examined sugary drink warnings’ impacts, but no research to our knowledge has synthesized this literature. To inform ongoing policy debates, this study aimed to identify the effects of sugary drink warnings compared with control … More
The Impact of Increasing SNAP Benefits on Stabilizing the Economy, Reducing Poverty and Food Insecurity amid COVID-19 Pandemic
With unemployment currently at a record high as a result of COVID-19, participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is expected to increase significantly. Congress has already passed three COVID-19 aid bills, which include SNAP provisions such as funding for emergency benefits for SNAP households and program administrative flexibilities. … More