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Heflin paper on aging out of WIC and food security on households with children published in CYSR

Sep 30, 2016

The Impact of Aging out of WIC on Food Security in Households with Children

Irma Arteaga, Colleen Heflin & Sara Gable

Children and Youth Services Review, September 2016

Colleen Heflin

Colleen Heflin


Correlational research suggests that disadvantaged families with young children who are food insecure often participate in the Women Infants and Children program (WIC). While there has been a considerable amount of research on the association between WIC participation and food insecurity, these studies have reported mixed findings and do not explore the effects of WIC at a critical age, when children turn five years old.

This paper estimates the effects of aging out of WIC on rates of household food insecurity using the exogenous rule that children are eligible for the WIC program until the day before they turn 61 months old. Using a regression discontinuity design and the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Birth-cohort dataset, the authors find that there is an increase in rates of food insecurity for children who become age-ineligible for WIC (i.e., reach 61 months of age) and who have not yet started kindergarten. Furthermore, this effect is robust under different models, bandwidths and analytic samples.

Center for Policy Research
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