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A Comparison Of Food Assistance Programs In Mexico And The United States

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  • Gundersen, Craig
  • Yanez, Mara
  • Valdes, Constanza
  • Kuhn, Betsey A.
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    Abstract

    The social safety nets in Mexico and the United States rely heavily on food assistance programs to ensure food security and access to safe and nutritious foods. To achieve these general goals, both countries' programs are exclusively paid for out of internal funds and both target low-income households and/or individuals. Despite those similarities, economic, cultural, and demographic differences between the countries lead to differences in their abilities to ensure food security and access to safe and nutritious foods. Mexico uses geographic and household targeting to distribute benefits while the United States uses only household targeting. U.S. food assistance programs tend to be countercyclical (as the economy expands, food assistance expenditures decline and vice-versa). Mexican food assistance programs appear to be neither counter- nor procyclical. Food assistance programs have little effect on the extent of poverty in Mexico, while the opposite is true in the United States, primarily because the level of benefits as a percentage of income is much lower in Mexico and a much higher percentage of eligible households receive benefits from food assistance programs in the United States.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service in its series Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports with number 33859.

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    Date of creation: 2002
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:uersfa:33859

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    Related research

    Keywords: Food assistance programs; social safety net; targeting methods; macroeconomy; poverty; Progresa; DICONSA; FIDELIST; LICONSA; DIF; Food Stamp Program; WIC; the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Food Security and Poverty;

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    1. Rebecca M. Blank, 2001. "What Causes Public Assistance Caseloads to Grow?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(1), pages 85-118.
    2. Rebecca M. Blank & Alan S. Blinder, 1985. "Macroeconomics, Income Distribution, and Poverty," NBER Working Papers 1567, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Rebecca M. Blank, 1991. "Why Were Poverty Rates So High in the 1980s?," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_57, Levy Economics Institute.
    4. John S. Akin & David K. Guilkey & Barry M. Popkin Karen M. Smith, 1985. "The Impact of Federal Transfer Programs on the Nutrient Intake of Elderly Individuals," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 20(3), pages 383-404.
    5. Baker, Judy L. & Grosh, Margaret E., 1994. "Poverty reduction through geographic targeting: How well does it work?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(7), pages 983-995, July.
    6. David M. Cutler & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "Macroeconomic Performance and the Disadvantaged," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 1-74.
    7. Rebecca M. Blank & David Card, 1993. "Poverty, Income Distribution, and Growth: Are They Still Connected," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 24(2), pages 285-340.
    8. Ali, Sonia M. & Adams, Richard Jr, 1996. "The Egyptian food subsidy system: Operation and effects on income distribution," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(11), pages 1777-1791, November.
    9. Butler, J S & Raymond, Jennie E, 1996. "The Effect of the Food Stamp Program on Nutrient Intake," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(4), pages 781-98, October.
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