Panel: Food Security and the Local and State Context
(Poverty and Income Policy)

Thursday, November 6, 2014: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Acoma (Convention Center)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Judi Bartfeld, University of Wisconsin Madison
Panel Chairs:  Elaine Waxman, Feeding America
Discussants:  Daniel Miller, Boston University

Understanding State Differences in Food Security: The Role of the State Food Security Infrastructure
Judi Bartfeld, University of Wisconsin Madison and Fei Men, University of Wisconsin - Madison

Economic Shocks, Neighborhood Food Infrastructure, and Food Security Among Households with Children
Scott Allard, University of Washington and H. Luke Shaefer, University of Michigan

Household food security has received increasing scrutiny from both the policy and the research communities over the past two decades, with heightened interest since the spike in food insecurity at the start of the Great Recession. Initially focusing on demographic and economic risk factors, research has over time paid increasing attention to the role of the policy environment and, more recently, to the physical food environment. This panel includes three papers that explore the role of various contextual factors in influencing food security, each differing in the scope of study as well as in their data and analytic approaches. The first paper uses twelve years of data from the Current Population Survey Food Security Supplement (CPS-FSS) spanning 2001-2012, merged with a host of state- and time-varying contextual variables describing the policy, economic, social, and political context, and utilizes multi-level models to investigate the relationship between contextual characteristics and food security outcomes. The second paper focuses on the local food environment, looking specifically at the interrelationships among economic shocks, the local food resource infrastructure (including retail food outlets, SNAP offices, and charitable food programs), and food security outcomes. Data are from the Michigan Recession and Recovery Survey (MRRS), linked to geocoded data on food resource locations. Finally, the third paper focuses on a key component of the food security infrastructure the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), available in almost all public schools. While researchers have paid considerable attention to the nutritional impact of the NSLP, its potential ameliorative effect on food insecurity has received only very limited research attention to date. The authors address this using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey Birth Cohort, estimating instrumental variable models that utilize state variation in the timing of kindergarten entry and thus in access to the NSLP. Together, these papers point to a wide range of programmatic and contextual factors at the school, local, and state levels that impact food security among vulnerable households.
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