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Did Revisions to the WIC Program Affect Household Expenditures on Whole Grains?

Miyoung Oh, Helen Jensen () and Ilya Rahkovsky

Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, 2016, vol. 38, issue 4, 578-598

Abstract: The food packages provided by the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program changed in 2009. This article examines purchases of whole grain products before and after the change. Nielsen Homescan panel data from 2008 to 2010 provide information on households’ food purchases, demographics, and self-reported WIC participation status. We estimate the effect of WIC participation and the 2009 package change on whole grains purchases using a difference-in-difference method, and find that participation in the WIC program was associated with more whole grain purchases during the observed period; the package change in 2009 roughly doubled the associated effect of WIC participation on the purchases of whole grain products. These results are consistent with recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and suggest that moderate innovations in the design of food assistance programs can lead to beneficial dietary choices.

Keywords: WIC program; household food purchases; health; diet (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D10 I18 Q18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
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Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy is currently edited by Timothy Park, Tomislav Vukina and Ian Sheldon

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