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WIC and the Price of Infant Formula


  • Albert J. Reed
  • J.W. Levedahl


This article presents an economic model of a national infant formula market that quantifies the effects of sole-source contracts on infant formula prices, on producer earnings, and on the taxpayer cost of providing infant formula to participants of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. It shows that the behavior of paying customers, manufacturers, and retail stores determines the value of local sole-source contracts to manufacturers and that this value motivates manufacturers to acquire sole-source contracts and make rebate payments that contain the taxpayer cost of providing infant formula to program participants. Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Albert J. Reed & J.W. Levedahl, 2012. "WIC and the Price of Infant Formula," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 94(3), pages 687-701.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ajagec:v:94:y:2012:i:3:p:687-701

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 2002. "The Growth of Obesity and Technological Change: A Theoretical and Empirical Examination," Working Papers 0203, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    2. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2002. "Simple and Bias-Corrected Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," NBER Technical Working Papers 0283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Levedahl, J. William & Reed, Albert J., 2012. "Net Taxpayer Cost of WIC Infant Formula," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124073, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. McLaughlin, Patrick W. & Saitone, Tina L. & Sexton, Richard J., 2013. "Non-Price Competition and the California WIC Program," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150783, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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