Food Access and Food Security – An Empirical Analysis
This paper analyzes the effect of access to different types of food outlets on households’ food insecurity levels. Two years (2004 and 2005) of Current Population Survey – Food Security Supplement data are matched with MSA-level data on store counts of Wal-Mart Supercenters, small food stores (small grocery stores and convenience stores), medium and large grocery stores, and convenience stores associated with gas stations. Endogeneity of food stores’ location is accounted for to eliminate spurious correlation between households’ food security status and food access. Preliminary results indicate that, before accounting for endogeneity bias, the presence of Wal-Mart supercenters appears to be associated to higher levels of households’ food insecurity, while the presence of other food stores is associated with lower levels. After eliminating spurious correlation, only the presence of small food stores appears helping to reduce food insecurity (across measures of food insecurity and data samples) while the presence of gas convenience stores is associated with higher likelihoods of experiencing food insecurity. The presence of Wal-Mart supercenters and that of medium and large grocery stores have little to no impact on the likelihood of a household being food insecure (the first showing only weak evidence of a mitigating effect, the second, instead, showing weak evidence of a magnifying effect).
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