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Reassessing the WIC effect: Evidence from the Pregnancy Nutrition Surveillance System

Author

Listed:
  • Ted Joyce

    (Baruch College, City University of New York)

  • Andrew Racine

    (Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Children's Hospital, Montefiore)

  • Cristina Yunzal-Butler

    (City University of New York)

Abstract

Recent analyses differ on how effective the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is at improving infant health. We use data from nine states that participate in the Pregnancy Nutrition Surveillance System to address limitations in previous work. With information on the mother's timing of WIC enrollment, we test whether greater exposure to WIC is associated with less smoking, improved weight gain during pregnancy, better birth outcomes, and greater likelihood of breastfeeding. Our results suggest that much of the often reported association between WIC and lower rates of preterm birth is likely spurious, the result of gestational age bias. We find modest effects of WIC on fetal growth, inconsistent associations between WIC and smoking, limited associations with gestational weight gain, and some relationship with breastfeeding. A WIC effect exists, but on fewer margins and with less impact than has been claimed by policy analysts and advocates. © 2008 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Suggested Citation

  • Ted Joyce & Andrew Racine & Cristina Yunzal-Butler, 2008. "Reassessing the WIC effect: Evidence from the Pregnancy Nutrition Surveillance System," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(2), pages 277-303.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:27:y:2008:i:2:p:277-303 DOI: 10.1002/pam.20325
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sandra E. Black & Paul J. Devereux & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2007. "From the Cradle to the Labor Market? The Effect of Birth Weight on Adult Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 409-439.
    2. Marianne P. Bitler & Janet Currie, 2005. "The changing association between prenatal participation in WIC and birth outcomes in New York City: What does it mean?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(4), pages 687-690.
    3. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1993:83:2:201-206_0 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Ted Joyce & Diane Gibson & Silvie Colman, 2004. "The Changing Association Between Prenatal Participation in WIC and Birth Outcomes in New York City," NBER Working Papers 10796, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1987:77:7:813-818_9 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Guido W. Imbens, 2004. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects Under Exogeneity: A Review," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 4-29.
    7. Douglas Almond & Kenneth Y. Chay & David S. Lee, 2005. "The Costs of Low Birth Weight," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1031-1083.
    8. 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.
    9. Ted Joyce & Diane Gibson & Silvie Colman, 2005. "The changing association between prenatal participation in WIC and birth outcomes in New York City," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(4), pages 661-685.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Hope Corman & Dhaval M. Dave & Nancy E. Reichman, 2017. "Evolution of the Infant Health Production Function," NBER Working Papers 24131, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Oliveira, Victor & Frazao, Elizabeth, 2009. "The WIC Program: Background, Trends, and Economic Issues, 2009 Edition," Economic Research Report 55839, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    3. Figlio, David & Hamersma, Sarah & Roth, Jeffrey, 2009. "Does prenatal WIC participation improve birth outcomes? New evidence from Florida," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 235-245, February.
    4. Hoynes, Hilary & Page, Marianne & Stevens, Ann Huff, 2011. "Can targeted transfers improve birth outcomes?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 813-827.
    5. Clive R. Belfield & Inas Rashad Kelly, 2012. "The Benefits of Breast Feeding across the Early Years of Childhood," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, pages 251-277.
    6. Hanks, Andrew S. & Gunther, Carolyn & Lillard, Dean & Scharff, Robert L., 2016. "From Paper to Plastic: Understanding the Impact of EBT on WIC Recipient Behavior," 2017 Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting, January 6-8, 2017, Chicago, Illinois 251834, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    7. Rossin-Slater, Maya, 2013. "WIC in your neighborhood: New evidence on the impacts of geographic access to clinics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 51-69.
    8. Yunwei Gai & Li Feng, 2012. "Effects of Federal Nutrition Program on Birth Outcomes," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 40(1), pages 61-83, March.
    9. repec:eee:cysrev:v:79:y:2017:i:c:p:115-125 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Haeck, Catherine & Lefebvre, Pierre, 2016. "A simple recipe: The effect of a prenatal nutrition program on child health at birth," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 77-89.
    11. Russ, Shirley & Garro, Nicole & Halfon, Neal, 2010. "Meeting children's basic health needs: From patchwork to tapestry," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1149-1164, September.
    12. Anthony, Elizabeth K. & King, Bryn & Austin, Michael J., 2011. "Reducing child poverty by promoting child well-being: Identifying best practices in a time of great need," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1999-2009, October.
    13. Martin-Anderson, Sarah, 2013. "Prenatal attitudes and parity predict selection into a U.S. child health program: A short report," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 128-132.

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