Intra-Household Allocation and Consumption of WIC-Approved Foods: A Bayesian Approach

Campus Units

Economics, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Version

Submitted Manuscript

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Advances in Econometrics: Bayesian Econometrics




Siddhartha Chib, William Griffiths, Gary Koop, Dek Terrell


Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Place of Publication

United Kingdom

First Page or Article ID Number


Last Page





WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, is a widely studied public food assistance program that aims to provide foods, nutrition education, and other services to at-risk, low-income children and pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women. From a policy perspective, it is of interest to assess the efficacy of the WIC program – how much, if at all, does the program improve the nutritional outcomes of WIC families? In this paper, we address two important issues related to the WIC program that have not been extensively addressed in the past. First, although the WIC program is primarily devised with the intent of improving the nutrition of “targeted” children and mothers, it is possible that WIC may also change the consumption of foods by nontargeted individuals within the household. Second, although WIC eligibility status is predetermined, participation in the program is voluntary and therefore potentially endogenous. We make use of a treatment–response model in which the dependent variable is the requirement-adjusted calcium intake from milk consumption and the endogenous variable is WIC participation, and estimate it using Bayesian methods. Using data from the CSFII 1994–1996, we find that the correlation between the errors of our two equations is strong and positive, suggesting that families participating in WIC have an unobserved propensity for high calcium intake. The direct “structural” WIC parameters, however, do not support the idea that WIC participation leads to increased levels of calcium intake from milk.


This is a working paper of a book chapter from Advances in Econometrics: Bayesian Econometrics 23 (2008): 157, doi: 10.1016/S0731-9053%2808%2923005-7.