Start Date: November 2023

ID #: 81352

Principal Investigator: Tara Watson, PhD

Co-Principal Investigator: Lara Shore-Sheppard, PhD

Organization: Brookings Institution

Funding Round: HER Round 13

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By providing resources to low-income families with children, the safety net has the potential to reduce food insecurity and improve nutrition. Understanding how much, how, and for whom the safety net impacts food security is a critical input into active policy discussions about the best way to support children in low-income families. The project will assess the causal impact of the U.S. social safety net on food insecurity in low-income families with children. Questions include: (1) how much does safety net package generosity reduce food insecurity?, (2) does it matter whether the support comes in the form of cash, food, or health care?, and (3) do answers differ for sub-populations with less equitable access to nutrition? The study team will build a calculator imputing eligibility and benefit amounts for major means-tested programs for a fixed sample of families, taking into account interactions across programs, yielding a measure of simulated generosity by state and year. Investigators then assess the causal impact of program generosity on food insecurity and related outcomes using fixed effects regression analysis. The study sample comes from the 2001-2022 Current Population Survey Food Security Supplements. Within the sample of U.S. households with children under 185 percent of the poverty line, effects will be examined separately by earnings level, disability status, race/ethnicity, and citizenship.

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