2001–2002 Funded Proposals

The Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture sponsor a competition that provides small grants for research on poverty and food assistance programs. Three or four grants are offered for research during the academic year. Grants are in amounts of $25,000 to $35,000 maximum.

Final reports for these projects appear as IRP Discussion Papers (titles may differ; see links below).

Proposals funded for the period July 1, 2001 - December 31, 2002:


Food Stamp and Program Participation of Refugees and Immigrants: Measurement Error Correction for Immigrant Status
Chris Bollinger, University of Kentucky, and Paul Hagstrom, Hamilton College

Final report: DP 1262-03

Even though the federal welfare reform legislation of 1996 did not limit the availability of public assistance to refugees, as it did to other legal immigrants, the participation rate of refugees in such programs as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Food Stamps, and Medicaid has fallen at least as fast as for other foreign-born residents. This research will use the March Current Population Surveys, 1994-2000, to estimate refugee participation in Food Stamps and TANF, taking into account measurement error in the identification of refugees. This error results from the fact that refugees are not separately identified from other immigrants in the large cross-sectional data sets of the type necessary for estimating models of participation. Researchers have used a variety of techniques to surmount this problem, but each has drawbacks. The approach of this project will allow probit estimation of participation models including an estimate of the effect of refugee status.

Does Household Food Insecurity Affect Cognitive and Social Development of Kindergartners?
Gail Harrison and Ame Stormer, University of California, Los Angeles

Final report: DP 1276-03

The measurement of food insecurity and hunger in the United States has now been standardized through development of the questionnaire titled the Core Food Security Module, making it possible to investigate the physical and emotional consequences of food insecurity. The researchers will use the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study of Kindergartners to examine the links between food insecurity and children's social skills as reported by parents and teachers, and between food insecurity and cognitive ability as reported by teachers, and to assess directly children's cognitive abilities in math, reading, and general knowledge. The relationship between food insecurity and children's physical status--thinness or obesity--will also be investigated. This data set is a nationally representative cluster sample of 20,000 kindergarten children in public and private schools. Rasch modeling and multilevel regression analysis will be used.

The Dynamics of Prenatal WIC Participation
Christopher A. Swann, State University of New York at Stony Brook

Final report: DP 1259-03

Although many studies have examined the effect of participation in the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children on various health outcomes, little research has been devoted to understanding the process by which women choose to participate in WIC over the course of their pregnancies. The proposed research will characterize the nature of spells of prenatal WIC participation, examining the extent to which women enter and leave the program during a single pregnancy and seeking to understand the factors associated with entry and exit. The primary data source will be the 1988 National Maternal and Infant Health Survey, which provides detailed information on monthly WIC participation of almost 19,000 women. These data will be supplemented with information on state differences in WIC rules from the 1988 Study of WIC Participation and Program Characteristics. The researcher will first document the characteristics of spells of prenatal WIC participation and the characteristics of women who choose different patterns of participation, and will then use survival analysis to learn how program rules and individual characteristics affect the timing of entry into and exit from the program prior to birth.