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.
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
Evaluating the impact of state-level economic-support policies on the nutritional health of kids and familiesTo address ongoing concerns of child poverty across the United States, states have introduced and modified family economic security policies related to the state minimum wage (MW) and state earned income tax credit (EITC). While poor nutritional health disproportionately impacts children who experience poverty, few studies have examined the potentially beneficial effects of state-level MW More