The Impact of Childhood Nutrition Assistance on Child Health and Well-being: Lessons From WIC

Marianne Bitler, University of California, Davis
Barton Willage , Louisiana State University

The WIC is one of the most widely used food assistance programs in the US. WIC aims to ensure that low-income children and pregnant women have access to healthful food. Evidence about impacts of WIC on children is limited. We use a regression discontinuity (RD) approach to estimate the causal effects of WIC on child health and nutritional outcomes. Our RD models that leverage sharp changes in program benefits and eligibility in order to examine effects of the program on a wide range of health and nutrition outcomes including self-reported food and nutrient consumption, objective health measures, and the incidence and type of hospital visits. Our research focuses on previously understudied questions such as effects of WIC on children; on spillovers to other family members who are not directly eligible for the programs; and on the effects of changes in the composition and delivery of program benefits.

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 Presented in Session 239. Flash Session: Social Policy and Child Well-being