NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Is the Focus on Food Deserts Fruitless? Retail Access and Food Purchases Across the Socioeconomic Spectrum

Jessie Handbury, Ilya Rahkovsky, Molly Schnell

NBER Working Paper No. 21126
Issued in April 2015, Revised in October 2016
NBER Program(s):Health Economics

Using novel data describing the healthfulness of household food purchases and the retail landscapes consumers face, we measure the role of access in explaining why wealthier and more educated households purchase healthier foods. We find that spatial differences in access, though significant, are small relative to spatial differences in the nutritional content of sales. Socioeconomic disparities in nutritional consumption exist even among households with equivalent access, and the healthfulness of household consumption responds minimally to improvements in local retail environments. Our results indicate that access-improving policies alone will eliminate less than one third of existing socioeconomic disparities in nutritional consumption.

download in pdf format
   (764 K)

email paper

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21126

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Allcott, Diamond, and Dubé w24094 The Geography of Poverty and Nutrition: Food Deserts and Food Choices Across the United States
Kahn w20716 Climate Change Adaptation: Lessons from Urban Economics
Stiglitz w20517 Reconstructing Macroeconomic Theory to Manage Economic Policy
Longstaff w20589 Valuing Thinly-Traded Assets
Gelber, Isen, and Kessler w20810 The Effects of Youth Employment: Evidence from New York City Summer Youth Employment Program Lotteries
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us