Evaluating Food Assistance Programs in an Era of Welfare Reform

Summary of a Workshop

Elizabeth Evanson, Charles F. Manski, Terri M. Scanlan, Editors

Committee on National Statistics

Board on Children, Youth, and Families

Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

Food and Nutrition Board

National Research Council

Institute of Medicine

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.



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Evaluating Food Assistance Programs in an Era of Welfare Reform Summary of a Workshop Elizabeth Evanson, Charles F. Manski, Terri M. Scanlan, Editors Committee on National Statistics Board on Children, Youth, and Families Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education Food and Nutrition Board National Research Council Institute of Medicine NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C.

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NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. The project that is the subject of this report was supported by funds provided by the Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture through Grant No. SBR-9709489 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Science Foundation for support of core activities of the Committee on National Statistics. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-06494-5 Additional copies of this report are available for sale from National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Lockbox 285,Washington, D.C. 20055. Call (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area). This report is also available online at http://www.nap.edu Printed in the United States of America Copyright 1999 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved

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Committee On National Statistics 1998-1999 JOHN E. ROLPH (Chair), Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California JOSEPH G. ALTONJI, Department of Economics, Northwestern University JULIE DAVANZO, RAND, Santa Monica, California WILLIAM F. EDDY, Department of Statistics, Carnegie Mellon University WILLIAM D. KALSBEEK, Survey Research Unit, Department of Biostatistics, University of North Carolina RODERICK J.A. LITTLE, School of Public Health, University of Michigan THOMAS A. LOUIS, Division of Biostatistics, University of Minnesota CHARLES F. MANSKI, Department of Economics, Northwestern University WILLIAM D. NORDHAUS, Department of Economics, Yale University JANET L. NORWOOD, The Urban Institute, Washington, DC EDWARD B. PERRIN, Department of Health Services, University of Washington PAUL R. ROSENBAUM, Department of Statistics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania FRANCISCO J. SAMANIEGO, Division of Statistics, University of California, Davis RICHARD L. SCHMALENSEE, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIRON L. STRAF, Director (on leave) ANDREW A. WHITE, Acting Director

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Board On Children, Youth, And Families 1998 JACK P. SHONKOFF (Chair), Heller Graduate School, Brandeis University DAVID V. B. BRITT, Children's Television Workshop, New York, New York LARRY BUMPASS, Center for Demography and Ecology, University of Wisconsin SHEILA BURKE, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University DAVID CARD, Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley KEVIN GRUMBACH, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Primary Care Research Center, University of California, San Francisco MAXINE HAYES, Community and Family Health, Department of Health, Washington MARGARET HEAGARTY, Department of Pediatrics, Harlem Hospital Center, New York, New York ALETHA C. HUSTON, Department of Human Ecology, University of Texas at Austin RENIE R. JENKINS, Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Howard University Hospital SHEILA KAMERMAN, School of Social Work, Columbia University SANDERS KORENMAN, School of Public Affairs, Baruch College HONORABLE CINDY LEDERMAN, Circuit Court Judge, Juvenile Justice Center, Miami, Florida SARA McLANAHAN, Office of Population Research, Princeton University VONNIE McLOYD, Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor PAUL NEWACHECK, Institute of Health Policy Studies and Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco DEBORAH STIPEK, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Los Angeles PAUL WISE, Department of Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center EVAN CHARNEY (Liaison), Council, Institute of Medicine RUTH T. GROSS (Liaison), Board on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Institute of Medicine ELEANOR E. MACCOBY (Liaison), Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education MICHELE KIPKE, Director DEBORAH A. PHILLIPS, Director (until June 1998)

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Food And Nutrition Board 1998 CUTBERTO GARZA (Chair), Division of Nutrition, Cornell University JOHN W. ERDMAN, JR. (Vice Chair), Division of Nutritional Sciences, College of Agriculture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign LINDSAY H. ALLEN, Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis BENJAMIN CABALLERO, Center for Human Nutrition, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health FERGUS M. CLYDESDALE, Department of Food Science, University of Massachusetts at Amherst ROBERT J. COUSINS, Center for Nutritional Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville JOHANNA T. DWYER, Frances Stern Nutrition Center, New England Medical Center, Boston SCOTT M. GRUNDY, Center for Human Nutrition, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas CHARLES H. HENNEKENS, Harvard Medical School, and Division of Preventive Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston SANFORD A. MILLER, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio ROSS L. PRENTICE, Division of Public Health Sciences, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle A. CATHARINE ROSS, Department of Nutrition, Pennsylvania State University ROBERT E. SMITH, R.E. Smith Consulting, Inc., Newport, Vermont VIRGINIA A. STALLINGS, Nutrition Section, Division of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia VERNON R. YOUNG, Laboratory of Human Nutrition, School of Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology STEVE L. TAYLOR (Ex Officio), Food Processing Center, University of Nebraska, Lincoln ALLISON YATES, Director

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Preface This report was prepared in response to a request from the Economic Research Service (ERS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It summarizes the discussions at a February 1998 workshop convened by the Committee on National Statistics; the Board on Children, Youth, and Families; and the Food and Nutrition Board. The fiscal year 1998 (FY1998) appropriations bill for USDA gave ERS responsibility for all research and evaluation studies on USDA food assistance programs. The bill provided $18 million to fund these studies, an increase from $7 million in FY1997. ERS asked the Committee on National Statistics for assistance in identifying new areas of research and data collection and in further improving the evaluation studies of food assistance programs. By bringing together many who work on evaluation of food assistance programs, policy analysis, survey methods, nutrition, child nutrition and child development, outcome measurement, and state welfare programs, the issues presented and discussed at the workshop provided ERS with information that could be used to develop a framework for their research program. On August 22, 1996, President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). This comprehensive welfare reform act replaced the entitlement status of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant that now allows states to set their own eligibility standards and benefit levels for individuals. PRWORA emphasizes a "welfare to work" concept, including time limits for assistance, strong work requirements, a performance bonus to reward states for moving welfare recipients into jobs, and

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increased funding for child care. PRWORA also brought many changes to food assistance programs. These are discussed in detail in the main text of this workshop summary. The workshop discussions focused on the impact of PRWORA-related changes in food assistance programs, not on the impact of these changes in public assistance more generally. These topics are, of course, closely related, and numerous studies are under way to measure and evaluate the far-reaching effects of welfare reform.1 Although some of these evaluation efforts have been cited in this report as effective models for program evaluation that could be applied to food assistance programs, this report is not intended to provide a comprehensive review of the current research in the evaluation of welfare reform. The agenda for the workshop was developed in consultation with ERS staff to ensure that workshop discussions would provide them with the information they were seeking. Workshop speakers, identified through literature reviews and peer nomination, were invited to make brief presentations on the issues they feel are of most concern in their particular field. Because of time constraints and the numerous topics to be addressed, some participants were asked to make 15-minute presentations, and others were asked to lead off discussions with two or three minutes of remarks. General discussion among all participants present followed each agenda session. The issues presented in this report as well as the suggestions and ideas for future directions in program evaluation are the opinions of attendees of the workshop. (See the Appendix for the workshop agenda and the list of participants.) It is appropriate to note that, since the workshop was held, ERS has outlined their plans to spend the funds allocated for the evaluation of the food assistance programs and established the Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Program (FANRP). In FY1998, through competitive grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts, FANRP funded several extramural research projects that examine many of the key research issues of the food assistance programs.2 Nevertheless, it is hoped that the ideas presented and the issues discussed in this report are found useful to all involved in the evaluation of the food assistance programs and remain applicable to all future evaluation efforts. 1   For a list of major welfare reform studies, see National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (1998: Appendix B). 2   A summary of the research projects that were funded by FANRP in FY1998 as well the announcement of the program's focus for FY1999 can be found at the ERS website: www.econ.ag.gov.

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Acknowledgments Many people contributed valuable help and assistance to the workshop on evaluating food assistance programs in an era of welfare reform and the preparation of this report; the Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT), the Board on Children, Youth, and Families (BCYF), and the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) appreciate their cooperation and input. We would like to thank all of the people who presented at the workshop, sharing their expertise, experiences, and concerns through presentations that brought clarity and focus to this emerging issue, and for their thoughts and comments that helped shape this report. We also thank those who participated in the discussions, contributing to a prolific exchange of ideas. Thanks are due especially to Charles Manski, CNSTAT member, who, as chair of the workshop, provided valuable advice during the planning stages and the leadership necessary for conducting a successful workshop. The agenda for the workshop was developed in consultation with Susan Offutt, administrator of the Economic Research Service (ERS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Shannon Hamm, and other ERS staff, whose input was essential in identifying of the objectives of the workshop. Particular appreciation is due to those who worked to organize the workshop and prepare this report. Elizabeth Evanson of the Institute for Research on Poverty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison served as the rapporteur for the workshop and prepared the initial draft of this report. The Institute for Research on Poverty generously contributed to the enterprise through their support for Evanson's time. Miron Straf, CNSTAT director, led and oversaw the planning of the workshop, from its development to the preparation of this report. CNSTAT staff members Terri Scanlan and Telissia Thompson were responsible for all of

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the details involved in organizing the workshop, ensuring its successful fruition, and preparing this report. Jane Durch of the CNSTAT staff was responsible for the initial background work and planning of the workshop. During the development of the workshop, valuable advice was contributed by Deborah Phillips, BCYF director, and Allison Yates, FNB director. Janet Overton edited the final draft and Terri Scanlan revised the report in response to many comments from reviewers and others. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Isabel R. Contento, Program in Nutrition and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University; Julie DaVanzo, RAND, Santa Monica, California; Johanna T. Dwyer, New England Medical Center, Boston; Sanders Korenman, School of Public Affairs, Baruch College, City University of New York; Betsy Lozoff, Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan; Ernesto Pollitt, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis; Benjamin Senauer, Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy, University of Minnesota; and Sarahelen Thompson, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois. Although the individuals listed above have provided constructive comments and suggestions, it must be emphasized that responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Contents 1   Overview   1 2   Background   4 3   Research Issues in Evaluating Food Assistance Programs   15 4   Current Data Resources and Future Needs   31 5   Research Priorities   40     References   48     Appendix: Workshop Agenda and Participants   53

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