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Rasch Analyses of Very Low Food Security among Households and Children in the Three City Study


  • Robert A. Moffitt

    () (Johns Hopkins University, Department of Economics, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA)

  • David C. Ribar

    () (The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic & Social Research, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia)


The longitudinal Three City Study (TCS) of low-income families with children measures food hardships using fewer and some different questions from the standard U.S. instrument, the Household Food Security Survey Module (HFSSM) in the Current Population Survey (CPS). We use a Rasch measurement model to identify thresholds of very low food security among households and among children in the TCS that are comparable to thresholds from the HFSSM. We also use the TCS to empirically investigate the determinants of food insecurity and of these specific food insecurity outcomes, estimating a multivariate behavioral Rasch model that is adapted to address longitudinal data. The estimation results indicate that participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program reduce food insecurity, while poverty and disability among caregivers increase it. Besides its longitudinal structure, the TCS measures many more characteristics about households than the CPS. Our estimates reveal that financial assistance through social networks and a household's own financial assets reduce food insecurity, while its outstanding loans increase insecurity.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert A. Moffitt & David C. Ribar, 2016. "Rasch Analyses of Very Low Food Security among Households and Children in the Three City Study," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 1123-1146, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:82:4:y:2016:p:1123-1146

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    Cited by:

    1. Herault, Nicolas & Ribar, David C., 2017. "Food insecurity and homelessness in the Journeys Home survey," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 52-66.
    2. Robert A. Moffitt & David C. Ribar, 2016. "Child Age and Gender Differences in Food Security in a Low-Income Inner-City Population," NBER Working Papers 22988, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs


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