Job Market Paper

You can find the latest version of my job market paper here.

“The Effect of Free School Meals on Household Food Purchases: Evidence from the Community Eligibility Provision” with Michelle Marcus 

Designed to increase access to meals for low-income students, the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) eliminates applications for free and reduced-price school meals and allows high poverty schools to provide free meals for all students, regardless of their family income.  This paper considers the effects of access to free school meals through CEP on household grocery spending, diet composition, and food security for households with school-aged children using the Nielsen consumer panel data from 2004-2016 and the Current Population Survey from 2001-2018.  We find that household spending on grocery purchases decreases after children gain access to free school meals by about $22 per month or 11% of all food spending.  Overall diet quality of purchases decreases by about 12.9% from the mean.   Evidence that previously eligible  households experience large effects on grocery spending,  combined with evidence of large reductions in food insecurity from CEP, suggest that application and stigma costs of free school meals may have prevented already-eligible households from participating prior to the adoption of CEP. 

(Presented at APPAM, November 2020; Accepted for presentation at ASHEcon, June 2020; Presented at ASHEcon, June 2019)