Economics, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development
Journal or Book Title
For decades, from the 1940s to the 1970s, the goal of U.S. food and nutrition assistance programs seemed clear: to make sure low-income Americans could afford enough food. By pursuing this goal, the programs would protect program participants from hunger and also support demand for farm products. Today, about one in five Americans receives benefits from at least one of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) food programs. The major programs include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), school meals programs—lunch and breakfast, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program. Despite the food programs’ goal of reducing hunger and improving nutrition, rising concern about overweight and obesity for all Americans has triggered arguments that targeted food benefits could be counter-productive. As a recent retrospective on a century of food and consumer economics explained, “The policy context for food assistance programs has changed in the past three decades.” (Unnevehr et al. 2010, p. 512).
I18, I38, Q18
Agricultural & Applied Economics Association
Jensen, Helen H. and Wilde, Parke E., "More Than Just Food: The Diverse Effects of Food Assistance Programs" (2010). Economics Publications. 222.