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The Timing of Prenatal WIC Participation

Christopher Swann

The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, 2007, vol. 7, issue 1, 1-27

Abstract: The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides food vouchers, nutritional counseling, and health care referrals to low-income pregnant and breastfeeding women and their young children. This paper uses duration models to study the factors that influence the timing of prenatal WIC participation among pregnant women. The estimates show that Hispanic women, women with low levels of education, women who have no private insurance, and women who are overweight participate in WIC earlier than others. WIC program rules such as allowing applicants to self-declare income and linking WIC eligibility to Medicaid eligibility are related to earlier participation for women experiencing their first pregnancies. Extending the analysis to women pregnant for the second time shows a strong relationship between WIC participation during the first pregnancy and the timing, and likelihood, of participation during the second pregnancy.

Date: 2007
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