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Bounding the effects of food insecurity on children's health outcomes

  • Gundersen, Craig
  • Kreider, Brent

Previous research has estimated that food insecure children are more likely to suffer from a wide array of negative health outcomes than food secure children, leading many to claim that alleviating food insecurity would lead to better health outcomes. Identifying the causal impacts is problematic, however, given endogenous selection into food security status and potential mismeasurement of true food security status. Using recently developed nonparametric bounding methods and data from the 2001-2006 National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES), we assess what can be identified about the effects of food insecurity on child health outcomes in the presence of nonrandom selection and nonclassical measurement error. Under relatively weak monotonicity assumptions, we can identify that food security has a statistically significant positive impact on favorable general health and being a healthy weight. Our work suggests that previous research has more likely underestimated than overestimated the causal impacts of food insecurity on health.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 28 (2009)
Issue (Month): 5 (September)
Pages: 971-983

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:28:y:2009:i:5:p:971-983
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  5. Brent Kreider, 2010. "Regression Coefficient Identification Decay in The Presence of Infrequent Classification Errors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 1017-1023, November.
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  8. Van Hook, Jennifer & Stamper Balistreri, Kelly, 2007. "Immigrant generation, socioeconomic status, and economic development of countries of origin: A longitudinal study of body mass index among children," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(5), pages 976-989, September.
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  13. Dowd, Jennifer Beam, 2007. "Early childhood origins of the income/health gradient: The role of maternal health behaviors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(6), pages 1202-1213, September.
  14. Brent Kreider & Steven C. Hill, 2009. "Partially Identifying Treatment Effects with an Application to Covering the Uninsured," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(2).
  15. John V. Pepper, 2000. "The Intergenerational Transmission Of Welfare Receipt: A Nonparametric Bounds Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 472-488, August.
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  18. Guido W. Imbens & Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Confidence Intervals for Partially Identified Parameters," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(6), pages 1845-1857, November.
  19. Bound, John & Brown, Charles & Mathiowetz, Nancy, 2001. "Measurement error in survey data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 59, pages 3705-3843 Elsevier.
  20. Horowitz, Joel L & Manski, Charles F, 1995. "Identification and Robustness with Contaminated and Corrupted Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(2), pages 281-302, March.
  21. Gundersen, Craig & Kreider, Brent, 2006. "Food Stamps and Food Insecurity: What Can Be Learned in the Presence of Non-Classical Measurement Error?," Staff General Research Papers 12690, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  22. Nord, Mark & Andrews, Margaret S. & Carlson, Steven, 2008. "Household Food Security in the United States, 2007," Economic Research Report 56483, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  23. Hamelin, Anne-Marie & Beaudry, Micheline & Habicht, Jean-Pierre, 2002. "Characterization of household food insecurity in Québec: food and feelings," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 119-132, January.
  24. Kreider, Brent & Pepper, John V. & Gundersen, Craig & Jolliffe, Dean, 2012. "Identifying the Effects of SNAP (Food Stamps) on Child Health Outcomes When Participation is Endogenous and Misreported," Staff General Research Papers 13124, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  25. Currie, Alison & Shields, Michael A. & Price, Stephen Wheatley, 2007. "The child health/family income gradient: Evidence from England," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 213-232, March.
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  27. Gundersen, Craig & Weinreb, Linda & Wehler, Cheryl & Hosmer, David, 2003. "Homelessness and food insecurity," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 250-272, September.
  28. van Doorslaer, Eddy & Gerdtham, Ulf-G., 2003. "Does inequality in self-assessed health predict inequality in survival by income? Evidence from Swedish data," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(9), pages 1621-1629, November.
  29. Molinari, Francesca, 2010. "Missing Treatments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 28(1), pages 82-95.
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