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WIC Eligibility and Participation: The Roles of Changing Policies, Economic Conditions, and Demographics


  • Swann Christopher A

    () (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)


This paper studies WIC eligibility and participation. These outcomes are related to economic conditions, Medicaid, cash welfare, and WIC policies, and demographic characteristics. The analysis uses state level data from 1983 to 2006, a period that covers significant expansion in the Medicaid program, the transition from AFDC to TANF, and significant changes in economic conditions. The results show that take-up has increased more than eligibility over this time period. Separating eligibility and participation is important because a number of state characteristics have opposite effects on these outcomes. Economic conditions, the Medicaid expansions, and immigration in the post-TANF period are shown to be associated with WIC eligibility and participation.

Suggested Citation

  • Swann Christopher A, 2010. "WIC Eligibility and Participation: The Roles of Changing Policies, Economic Conditions, and Demographics," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-37, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:10:y:2010:i:1:n:21

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barbara Devaney & Linda Bilheimer & Jennifer Schore, 1992. "Medicaid costs and birth outcomes: The effects of prenatal WIC participation and the use of prenatal care," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(4), pages 573-592.
    2. 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.
    3. Currie, Janet & Gruber, Jonathan, 1996. "Saving Babies: The Efficacy and Cost of Recent Changes in the Medicaid Eligibility of Pregnant Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1263-1296, December.
    4. Marianne P. Bitler & Janet Currie, 2005. "Does WIC work? The effects of WIC on pregnancy and birth outcomes," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(1), pages 73-91.
    5. Andrea Carlson & Ben Senauer, 2003. "The Impact of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children on Child Health," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(2), pages 479-491.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jackson, Margot I. & Mayne, Patrick, 2016. "Child access to the nutritional safety net during and after the Great Recession: The case of WIC," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 197-207.
    2. Thesia I. Garner & Charles Hokayem, 2012. "Supplemental Poverty Measure Thresholds: Imputing School Lunch and WIC Benefits to the Consumer Expenditure Survey Using the Current Population Survey," Working Papers 457, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    3. Hanson, Kenneth & Oliveira, Victor, 2012. "How Economic Conditions Affect Participation in USDA Nutrition Assistance Programs," Economic Information Bulletin 134682, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.

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