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Seminar: "Is the focus on food deserts fruitless? Retail access and food purchases across the socioeconomic spectrum"

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:15pm
157 Hosler Building

Energy and Environmental Economics and Policy Seminar

Dr. Jessie Handbury, Wharton Real Estate Department, University of Pennsylvania

A light lunch will be provided. 

Abstract: Using novel data describing the healthfulness of household food purchases and the re- tail 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 poli- cies alone will eliminate less than one third of existing socioeconomic disparities in nutritional consumption.

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