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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 classification errors in measuring 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 good general health and being a healthy weight. Our work suggests that previous research has more likely underestimated than overestimated the causal impacts on health.

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Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 13008.

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Date of creation: 13 Dec 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Health Economics, September 2009, vol. 28 no. 5, pp. 971-983
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:13008
Contact details of provider: Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Craig Gundersen & David Ribar, 2011. "Food Insecurity And Insufficiency At Low Levels Of Food Expenditures," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 57(4), pages 704-726, December.
  4. Kreider, Brent, 2007. "Regression Coefficient Identification Decay in the Presence of Infrequent Classification Errors," Staff General Research Papers 12822, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Black, Dan & Sanders, Seth & Taylor, Lowell, 2003. "Measurement of Higher Education in the Census and Current Population Survey," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 98, pages 545-554, January.
  6. Charles F. Manski & John V. Pepper, 1998. "Monotone Instrumental Variables: With an Application to the Returns to Schooling," Virginia Economics Online Papers 308, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  7. Molinari, Francesca, 2005. "Partial Identification of Probability Distributions with Misclassified Data," Working Papers 05-10, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  8. Kreider, Brent & Pepper, John V., 2003. "Disability and Employment: Reevaluating the Evidence in Light of Reporting Errors," Staff General Research Papers 10229, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  9. Kreider, Brent & Hill, Steven C., 2005. "Partially Identifying Treatment Effects with an Application to Covering the Uninsured," Staff General Research Papers 12296, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Janet Currie & Mark Stabile, 2003. "Socioeconomic Status and Child Health: Why Is the Relationship Stronger for Older Children?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1813-1823, December.
  13. 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.
  14. Murasko, Jason E., 2008. "An evaluation of the age-profile in the relationship between household income and the health of children in the United States," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1489-1502, December.
  15. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2002. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1308-1334, December.
  16. Guido W. Imbens & Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Confidence Intervals for Partially Identified Parameters," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(6), pages 1845-1857, November.
  17. 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.
  18. Bollinger, Christopher R., 1996. "Bounding mean regressions when a binary regressor is mismeasured," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 387-399, August.
  19. Dubois, Lise & Farmer, Anna & Girard, Manon & Porcherie, Marion, 2006. "Family food insufficiency is related to overweight among preschoolers'," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 63(6), pages 1503-1516, September.
  20. Molinari, Francesca, 2005. "Missing Treatments," Working Papers 05-11, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  21. Brent Kreider & John Pepper, 2008. "Inferring disability status from corrupt data," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 329-349.
  22. 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.
  23. Craig Gundersen & Victor Oliveira, 2001. "The Food Stamp Program and Food Insufficiency," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(4), pages 875-887.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  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. repec:mpr:mprres:5077 is not listed on IDEAS
  29. Brent Kreider & John V. Pepper & Craig Gundersen & Dean Jolliffe, 2012. "Identifying the Effects of SNAP (Food Stamps) on Child Health Outcomes When Participation Is Endogenous and Misreported," Journal of the American Statistical Association, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 107(499), pages 958-975, September.
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