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WIC Participation by Children who Participate as Infants: The Roles of (Re-)Certification and Changes in Family Composition

March 2011

Christopher A. Swann, University of North Carolina - Greensboro

Download 'working_paper11-08.pdf'.


WIC participation among eligible children is significantly lower than participation among infants. This paper explores possible explanations for the decline in participation including the need for recertification and changes in family composition. Discrete time hazard rate models are used to study the timing of exit from the WIC program for children who participate as infants. The models are estimated using the 2004 Survey of Income and Program Participation. The results suggest that the risk of exit from the WIC program is higher in recertification months than other months and for families with more children in the age range for WIC eligibility. Additionally, comparisons to results obtained from the 2001 SIPP suggest that changes in the interviewing methodology introduced in the 2004 SIPP reduced the magnitude of seam bias in WIC spells.

Child Well-being and Child Development, Social Welfare Programs and Policies