This paper exploits a source of variation in the eligibility for federal nutrition programs to identify the program effects on food insecurity. Children are eligible for the WIC program until the day before they turn 61 months old. The result is an age discontinuity in program participation at the 61-month cutoff. Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Birth-cohort dataset, we find strong evidence of a sizeable increase in household food insecurity at the 61- month cutoff. Our findings are robust to different model specifications, datasets, and various bandwidth choices using various non-parametric estimations.

Document Type

Research Paper

Publication Date


Discussion Paper Number

DP 2012-19

Notes/Citation Information

This project was sponsored by a grant from the Food and Nutrition Service in the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research.