Aging Out of WIC and Child Nutrition: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design

Travis Smith, University of Georgia
Pourya Valizadeh , University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is the third largest food assistance program in the United States. Child participants lose WIC in the month following their fifth birthday. We exploit this exogenous program rule and find much larger decreases in diet quality for those who have yet to transition into federally-subsidized school meal programs. Decreases are mainly driven by lower consumption of healthier WIC-targeted foods, particularly among children who are prone to lower-quality diets. We find no effects on food insecurity reports within the household.

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 Presented in Session 220. Determinants of Child Health and Mortality