2007–2008 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 $40,000. Its application deadline was May 1, 2007. The application guidelines are available online. Abstracts of funded proposals can be viewed for academic years 2006–2007 and earlier.

Proposals funded for the period July 1, 2007 – December 31, 2008:


Assessing the Effect of Increasing Housing Costs on Food Insecurity

Jason M. Fletcher and Susan H. Busch, Yale University

Housing costs are a significant share of household budgets. Moreover, research has indicated that individuals residing in areas with relatively high housing costs are more likely to report being food insecure. Yet, the impact of recent exceptional growth in housing costs in many areas of the U.S. on the food security of individual families has yet to be studied. This project aims to assess whether recent large increases in housing costs have increased food insecurity among low-income households with children, and to assess whether public program participation (i.e., housing assistance, food stamps) mitigates the effect of increases in housing costs on food insecurity among low-income households with children.

The Long-Term Outcomes of Food Stamp Participation
Joseph Harkness, Johns Hopkins University, and Thomas Vartanian, Bryn Mawr College

A large body of research has examined the effects of participation in the Food Stamp Program (FSP) on a range of outcomes, but virtually all of this research has focused on current participation. We know very little about the longer-term outcomes of FSP participants. This absence makes it difficult to say whether, in achieving its immediate task of improving dietary sufficiency among those at risk of undernutrition, the program is serving broader or longer-range goals. Extending previous research on the long-term outcomes of recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children, this research would attempt to close this gap.

Food Insecurity and the Food Stamp Program

Bradford F. Mills and Elton Mykerezi, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

There is significant interest in measuring the impact of Food Stamp Program (FSP) use on household food insecurity. However, this relationship has proven difficult to quantify empirically. Most studies find either no statistical relationship between food insecurity and FSP use, or a paradoxical positive correlation. This study proposes the use of a structural system framework to disentangle the relationship between FSP use and household food insecurity.

The Effect of Food Insecurity on the Physical, Cognitive, and Socio-Emotional Development of Infants and Toddlers
Alison Jacknowitz, American University, and Daphne C. Hernandez, Penn State University

Most studies on the consequences of food insecurity are based on non-representative, cross-sectional samples of older children and adults. Only a few studies have documented the negative effects of food insecurity on the physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional development of infants and toddlers. This study uses the first two waves of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study - Birth Cohort to examine the effect of food insecurity on physical, cognitive, and socio-emotional developmental outcomes of children at nine months and two years of age.