2005–2006 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 amount of $30,000 for research during the academic year. Its application deadline was May 2, 2005. An online version of the guidelines for application for that competition are available. Abstracts of funded proposals can be viewed for academic years 2004-2005 and earlier.

Proposals funded for the period July 1, 2005 - December 31, 2006:


Income Volatility, Food Insufficiency, and Food Stamp Receipt in the U.S.: The Effect of Welfare Reform
Neil Bania, University of Oregon, and Laura Leete, Willamette University

Final Report: DP 1325-07

Using data for 1993 and 2003 from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, this project will examine whether the levels or relationships among three factors-income variability, Food Stamp receipt, and food insufficiency-have changed since the passage of welfare reform legislation in 1996. It seeks to understand how income volatility affects food insufficiency and how this relationship is or is not mitigated by Food Stamp receipt.

How Sensitive Are Inferences about Relationships between Food Stamps and Food Insecurity to Reporting Error?
Craig Gundersen and Brent Kreider, Iowa State University

Final Report: DP 1321-07

Results from some surveys find, surprisingly, that food stamp recipients are more likely to be food insecure than eligible nonrecipients who are in other ways similar. These apparently higher rates of food insecurity may be driven in part by the misreporting of food insecurity status. Using data from the Core Food Security Module (CFSM) of the December supplement to the 2003 Current Population Survey (CPS), the investigators address three questions: (1)What can be learned about the prevalence of food insecurity under various assumptions about the nature and degree of possible food insecurity reporting errors? (2) How does food insecurity reporting error affect inferences about food stamp participation rates, conditional on food insecurity status? (3) In a regression framework, how does the presence of misreporting affect the statistical identification of coefficient parameters?

Does Greater Exposure to WIC Affect Maternal Behavior and Improve Infant Health? Evidence from the Pregnancy Nutrition Surveillance System
Ted Joyce and Cristina Yunzal, Baruch College, City University of New York

Final Report: DP 1323-07

Benefits of the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) may include nutritional supplementation, nutritional counseling, health care referrals, and promotion of breastfeeding. The investigators will test whether earlier and sustained exposure to these benefits results in less maternal smoking, greater weight gain, more breastfeeding, and therefore healthier pregnancies and infants. Data will be taken from the Pregnancy Nutrition Surveillance System in New Jersey and North Carolina.

Participation in Food Assistance, Maternal Employment, and Child Obesity
Haiyong Liu, Department of Economics, East Carolina University

Final Report: DP 1324-07

This project will analyze the effects of the Food Stamp program and maternal employment on the rise of obesity among children in single-mother families. The research will evaluate the effects of demographic and economic factors on the probability of Food Stamp program participation, interactions between program eligibility and decisions to work, and the effects of program participation and employment on the risk of obesity among the affected children. Data will be matched mother-child information from the 1986-2002 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.