Marit Hinnosaar (Collegio Carlo Alberto)

"How long do healthy habits last? The role of prices"

7 May 2018, 12:45 pm


When a policy gives temporary incentives for healthy behaviors, how long does the impact last? I study the U.S. Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, which gives vouchers for healthy foods. Using household-level scanner data, I find that the effect of the program diminishes when households become ineligible. Demand model estimates show that price differences between healthy and unhealthy foods play a large role in the decrease of the program’s impact. The estimates imply that the program has a persistent effect, in that it increases the impact of subsequent policies like subsidies on healthy foods.