Spatial and temporal variation in the value of the women, infants, and children program's fruit and vegetable voucher

Metin Cakir, Timothy K.M. Beatty, Michael A Boland, Timothy A. Park, Samantha Snyder, Yanghao Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Increasing the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables among children and low-income households is a public health policy priority in the United States. We investigate temporal and spatial price patterns for fresh fruits and vegetables to evaluate the extent to which the value of the fruit and vegetable Cash-Value-Voucher (CVV) of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) may be affected by unequal price levels and changes in price levels across the United States. Our findings show that price differences over space and time have real and consequential impacts on the purchasing power of the CVV. A WIC Program participant in the highest-cost Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) can buy significantly fewer fruits and vegetables than a participant who receives the same benefit in the lowest-cost MSA. Further, we find that the value of the CVV has substantially declined across all MSAs since 2009. We discuss the nutritional implications of the variation in the value of the CVV and evaluate potential mechanisms that could be implemented to maintain equal CVV benefits across time and space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)691-706
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Agricultural Economics
Volume100
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Metin C¸akır is an assistant professor in the Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota. Timothy K.M. Beatty is a professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis. Michael A. Boland is a professor and the E. Fred Koller Endowed Chair, Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota. Timothy A. Park is the Branch Chief of the Food Markets Branch, Economic Research Service, USDA. Samantha Snyder is a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Economics, Macalester College. Yanghao Wang is a graduate student in the Department of Applied Economics, University of Minnesota. The authors would like to thank the participants of the departmental seminar at the University of Minnesota, and the ERS/RTI/AAEA scanner data workshop held in Boston, MA for their valuable feedback. The authors are also grateful to two anonymous referees for their valuable comments. This research has been supported by USDA Economic Research Service Cooperative Agreement 58-5000-3-0053, and by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Hatch grant number 1013993. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the USDA. Correspondence to be sent to: mcakir@umn.edu.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.

Keywords

  • Anti-poverty programs
  • Food and nutrition policy
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Index numbers
  • Infant health
  • Panel price indices
  • Public assistance
  • Purchasing power
  • SNAP
  • WIC

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