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The Relationship between Food Assistance and Health: A Review of the Literature and Empirical Strategies for Identifying Program Effects

By Chad D. Meyerhoefer and Muzhe Yang


There is a large and growing body of literature on the impact of food assistance programs on body weight and health. We review this literature in the context of an economic model of consumption and time allocations in order to elucidate the multiple pathways between food assistance and health. We then present a general empirical framework for comparing and contrasting different identification strategies, some of which have been used to evaluate food assistance programs, from the treatment effects literature. In addition to discussing the most widely used methods, we highlight recent advances that may be of interest to food assistance researchers. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

DOI identifier: 10.1093/aepp
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