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To What Degree Does Food Assistance Help Poor Households Acquire Enough Food?

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  • Beth Osborne Daponte
  • Amelia Haviland
  • Joseph B. Kadane
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    Abstract

    The research presented adds to the knowledge base on the efficacy of public and private food assistance in alleviating food shortages among poor households by considering the effects of all major forms of domestic food assistance - Food Stamps, WIC, and food pantries. The analyses are based on detailed data that were collected in 1993 from 398 low-income households in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. This research contributes to the current food assistance literature in three ways. First, a methodological contribution - a refinement of the standard food consumption model - is recommended to address biased estimation procedures. Second, the standard food consumption model is extended to include the effects of both public and private food assistance. The third contribution goes beyond asking to what degree food assistance increases food expenditures and instead examines the effect each of the widely available forms of food assistance has on helping poor households acquire enough resources to potentially meet basic nutritional requirements. Research findings suggest that compared with other forms of food assistance, the receipt of a significant amount in Food Stamps has a much greater impact on whether a household attains at least the Thrifty Food Plan than the receipt of food from a food pantry or through the WIC program.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research in its series JCPR Working Papers with number 236.

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    Date of creation: 16 Aug 2001
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    Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:236

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    1. Parke E. Wilde & Paul E. McNamara & Christine K. Ranney, 1999. "The Effect of Income and Food Programs on Dietary Quality: A Seemingly Unrelated Regression Analysis with Error Components," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(4), pages 959-971.
    2. Salathe, Larry E., 1980. "The Food Stamp Program And Low-Income Households' Food Purchases," Agricultural Economics Research, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, issue 4.
    3. 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.
    4. B. O. Daponte & S. L. Bade, . "The Evolution, Cost, and Operation of the Private Food Assistance Network," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1211-00, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    5. Andrews, Margaret S. & Nord, Mark, 2001. "Food Security Is Improving in the United States," Agricultural Information Bulletins 33641, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    6. Parke E. Wilde & Christine K. Ranney, 2000. "The Monthly Food Stamp Cycle: Shooping Frequency and Food Intake Decisions in an Endogenous Switching Regression Framework," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(1), pages 200-213.
    7. Beth Osborne Daponte & Seth Sanders & Lowell Taylor, 1999. "Why Do Low-Income Households not Use Food Stamps? Evidence from an Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(3), pages 612-628.
    8. James Tobin, 1956. "Estimation of Relationships for Limited Dependent Variables," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 3R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    9. Gundersen, Craig & LeBlanc, Michael & Kuhn, Betsey A., 1999. "The Changing Food Assistance Landscape: The Food Stamp Program in a Post-Welfare Reform Environment," Agricultural Economics Reports 33993, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    10. Barbara Devaney & Thomas Fraker, 1986. "Cashing out food stamps: Impacts on food expenditures and diet quality," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 5(4), pages 725-741.
    11. Salathe, Larry E, 1980. "Food Stamp Program Impacts On Household Food Purchases: Theoretical Considerations," Agricultural Economics Research, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, issue 2.
    12. Chib, Siddhartha, 1992. "Bayes inference in the Tobit censored regression model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1-2), pages 79-99.
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