2004–2005 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 have for several years sponsored a competition that provides small grants for research on poverty and food assistance programs. This year's competition offered grants in amounts of $25,000 to $35,000 for research during the academic year. Its application deadline was May 3, 2004. An online version of the guidelines for application for that competition are available. Abstracts of funded proposals can be viewed for academic years 2003-2004 and earlier.

Proposals funded for the period July 1, 2004 - December 31, 2005:


Local-Level Predictors of Household Food Security
Judi Bartfeld, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Final Report: DP 1317-06

This project seeks to identify local characteristics that are linked to household food security. The focus is on the availability and accessibility of nutrition assistance programs, economic attributes of communities, and characteristics of the local food marketing system. Data are from self-administered surveys of parents of elementary school students in 90-100 schools throughout Wisconsin. Household food security status is determined by use of a standard 6-item scale. Findings will contribute to knowledge of the circumstances that give rise to food insecurity, provide information to policymakers on factors that may influence food insecurity, and provide participating communities with local information about food security.

Assessing the Association among Food Insecurity, Child Feeding Practices, and Obesity in WIC
Patricia Crawford, University of California, Berkeley

Child obesity is currently epidemic in the United States, and is particularly high among Latino children. Research has suggested that food insecurity may actually play a role in the onset of obesity among low-income groups. This study attempts to trace the mechanisms by which food shortages may be related to child obesity. It will assess the impact of maternal food insecurity, both past and current, on child feeding practices that may encourage weight gain among children in low-income families enrolled in the WIC program. The project will interview 120 Latino mothers of children aged 3-5 in California concerning food security and child feeding behaviors. Body mass index of mothers and their children will be determined. Multiple regression techniques will be employed to examine associations among maternal experience of food insecurity, maternal overweight, and child feeding practices and weight.

Why Did the Food Stamp Caseload Decline? Effects of Policy Changes and the Economy
Caroline Danielson, University of California, Office of the President

Final Report: DP 1316-06

This research will estimate models of the effects of specific food stamp policies, welfare policies, and the economy on the food stamp caseload. It will pay attention to differential effects on two subgroups: food stamp recipients who are and are not also receiving cash welfare benefits. Building on earlier work, the analyses will incorporate insights indicating that it is crucial to specify the severity of major welfare policies and the time since their implementation, as well as to specify multiple proxies for the state of the economy. Simulation results will attempt to explain the observed time path of the food stamp caseload. Data will be taken from the monthly state administrative food stamp caseload data, 1991 to 2004, available from the Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Determinants of Different Forms of Material Hardship in the Women's Employment Study
Colleen Heflin, University of Kentucky

Final Report: DP 1315-06

The investigator will examine events associated with entrance into and exit from six different forms of material hardship: food insufficiency, telephone disconnection, gas or electricity disconnection, need to see a doctor or dentist, children lacking proper winter clothing, and substandard housing. The project will ask whether events associated with a change in food insufficiency status differ from those associated with different forms of material hardship, and whether changes in physical and mental health state are associated with changes in different forms of material hardship. The data are from the five waves of the Women's Employment Study, a panel survey of barriers to employment among 753 mothers receiving cash assistance in an urban Michigan county in February 1997.