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25 Years

Can social capital help immigrant families overcome food insecurity? A case study of refugee households in the Midwest

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 12:00pm
Event Location: 
537 Heller Hall

Presented by: Harshada Karnik, Department of Applied Economics 

Abstract: In 2015, 13% of the American population was born in a country other than the U.S. and experienced higher rates of food insecurity as compared to the national average. While several studies have addressed financial constraints and programs implemented to overcome them to ensure food security, research related to whether social capital held within the community could enable food insecure households to overcome non-financial barriers is relatively scarce. This study examines the relationship between social capital and food security among low-income immigrant households through a natural experiment where host cities of incoming refugees are exogenously predetermined. Data for a sample of Somali refugee households in six Midwestern cities was collected using a survey instrument modeled on the CPS. This data will be analyzed to determine whether the positive correlation between social capital and food security is indicative of causal effects. Causal effects of social capital on food security would suggest that cash transfer programs could be more effective if complemented with programs that address non-monetary barriers at a community level.