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Intra-Household Allocation and Consumption of WIC-Approved Foods: A Bayesian Approach

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WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, is a widely studied public food assistance program that aims to provide foods, nutrition education and other services to at-risk, low-income children and pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women. From a policy perspective, it is of interest to assess the efficacy of the WIC program - how much, if at all, does the program improve the nutritional outcomes of WIC families? In this paper we address two important issues related to the WIC program that have not been extensively addressed in the past. First, although the WIC program is primarily devised with the intent of improving the nutrition of "target" children and mothers, it is possible that WIC may also change the consumption of foods by non-targeted individuals within the household. Second, although WIC eligibility status is predetermined, participation in the program is voluntary and therefore potentially endogenous. We make use of a triangular treatment-response model in which the dependent variable is the requirement-adjusted calcium intake from milk consumption and the endogenous variable is WIC participation, and estimate it using Bayesian methods. Using data from the CSFII 1994-1996, we find that the correlation between the errors of our two equations is strong and positive, suggesting that families participating in WIC have an unobserved propensity for high calcium consumption. The direct "structural" WIC parameters, however, do not support the idea that WIC participation leads to increased levels of calcium consumption from milk.

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Paper provided by Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University in its series Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications with number 07-wp452.

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Date of creation: Jul 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ias:cpaper:07-wp452

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Keywords: nutrition; WIC; Bayesian econometrics; treatment-response.;

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  1. Oliveira, Victor & Gundersen, Craig, 2000. "Wic And The Nutrient Intake Of Children," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service 33803, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  2. Chib, Siddhartha, 1992. "Bayes inference in the Tobit censored regression model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 79-99.
  3. Chib, Siddhartha & Hamilton, Barton H., 2000. "Bayesian analysis of cross-section and clustered data treatment models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 25-50, July.
  4. Poirier, D.J. & Tobias, J.L., 2001. "On the Predictive Distributions of Outcome Gains in the Presence of an Unidentified Parameter," Papers, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences 00-01-30, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  5. Chib, Siddhartha & Hamilton, Barton H., 2002. "Semiparametric Bayes analysis of longitudinal data treatment models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 110(1), pages 67-89, September.
  6. Koop, Gary & Poirier, Dale J., 1997. "Learning about the across-regime correlation in switching regression models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 217-227, June.
  7. Oliveira, Victor & Chandran, Ram, 2005. "Children'S Consumption Of Wic-Approved Foods," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service 33853, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  8. Barrett, Christopher B., 2002. "Food security and food assistance programs," Handbook of Agricultural Economics, Elsevier, in: B. L. Gardner & G. C. Rausser (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 40, pages 2103-2190 Elsevier.
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Cited by:
  1. Ishdorj, Ariun & Crepinsek, Mary Kay & Jensen, Helen H., 2012. "Children’s Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables: Do School Environment and Policies Affect Choice in School Meals?," 2012 AAEA/EAAE Food Environment Symposium, May 30-31, Boston, MA, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 123534, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  2. Christina Robinson, 2013. "Younger Siblings Can Be Good for Your Health: An Examination of Spillover Benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 172-184, June.

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