UNCG Research

USDA funds Ribar for study of food assistance programs – research news

Posted on Tuesday, July 10th, 2012 by UNCG Research.

Research News

David C. Ribar, Professor of Economics

UNCG Research congratulates Dr. David Ribar on receiving funding from the USDA Economic Research Service. The $29,973 award will support his study of “Food Assistance and Family Routines in Three American Cities.”

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; the National School Lunch Program; the School Breakfast Program; and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children all share the fundamental goal of helping needy and vulnerable people access nutritious foods. Such programs aim to improve recipients’ health, reduce household food insecurity, and further children’s development and school performance. Unexpectedly, some research indicates that participation in these programs may instead correlate with higher rates of obesity, greater food insecurity, and even lower school attendance.

Intrigued by these surprising findings, Ribar wants to examine the relationship between participation in public and private food assistance programs and a number of family processes. These include family routines (such as shared meals), children’s time use, children’s school schedules, and parents’ shared activities with children.

Ribar will conduct his study using the rich data from the Three-City Study, a longitudinal survey of 2,458 low-income families. He will investigate unconditional differences in families’ and children’s outcomes for each type and combinations of food assistance. He will also estimate multivariate regression models of these outcomes to account for other observable characteristics and longitudinal fixed effects. Finite-mixture factor models will account for unobservable characteristics.