Project: Household Food Security and Tradeoffs in the Food Budget: A Revitalized Engel Approach Including Food Stamps
Award Year: 2005
Amount of award, fiscal 2005: $75,000.00
Institution: Tufts University
Principal Investigator: Parke Wilde
Status: Completed
Detailed Objective: The Food Stamp Program (FSP) seeks to improve food security for low-income Americans. Empirically showing the effect of the program has been complicated by selection issues. The most food-insecure households are more likely to receive food stamps. This project will measure the effect of food stamp benefits on household spending on food consumed at-home and away-from-home and measure the effect, in turn, of food spending on household food security.

The project will estimate separate Engel functions, with food spending and food security outcomes a function of total resources for FSP participants and nonparticipants, using the Current Population Survey (CPS) Food Security Supplement for 2001-04. Food Stamp Program Quality Control files will be used to estimate food stamp benefits for each household. Outcomes will be allowed to vary based on specific elements of food security as well as the food security score, testing the validity of the Rasch model assumption that variation in food stamps and resources have a parallel effect on all elements of food security. Whether the effect of food stamps on food security is achieved through increased food spending will also be tested. An economic choice theory framework will be used to interpret results, with extramarginality assumed to be a matter of degree because households may have food expenses that cannot be paid with food stamps.

Topic: Food Security, SNAP/Food Stamp Program
Dataset: Current Population Survey food Security Supplement (CPS-FSS), Food Stamp Program Quality Control Data (FSPQC)
Wilde, P. “Measuring the Effect of Food Stamps on Food Insecurity and Hunger: Research and Policy Considerations,” The Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 137, Issue 2, February 2007.
Wilde, P., L. Troy, and B. Rodgers. Household Food Security and Tradeoffs in the Food Budget of Food Stamp Program Participants: An Engel Function Approach, Contractor and Cooperator Report No. 38, USDA, ERS, March 2008.
Wilde, P., L. Troy, and B. Rogers. “Food Stamps and Food Spending: An Engel Function Approach,” American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 91, Issue 2, May 2009.