Project Team

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Debarchana Ghosh

Co-Investigator

University of Connecticut

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Rigoberto Lopez

Principal Investigator

University of Connecticut

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Sandro Steinbach

Principal Investigator

University of Connecticut

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Kristen Cooksey Stowers

Co-Investigator

University of Connecticut

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Assessing the Link between Food Retailing, Rural Employment, and Human Health

The research project seeks to develop new knowledge about the evolving food retail market structure and measure its impact on competition and health outcomes.  As a critical component of the food supply chain, viable and robust retail food markets are essential in ensuring food security in the United States. Improving knowledge on food retailing performance is crucial because of its potential contribution to enhancing competition and the healthfulness of consumer food choices, particularly for low-income households in food deserts. Given the lack of knowledge about the evolving food retail market structure, new micro-level data research needs to assess the full implications of food retail market changes for independent grocery stores and consumers. We will accomplish this goal by developing innovative data-driven approaches to measure market structure changes based on establishment-level data (National Establishment Time Series), which account for spatial differentiation and types of food retailer formats. We will use the market structure measures to assess the impact on health outcomes, such as obesity rates, collected from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. This new knowledge will inform federal policies aimed at improving the food supply chain’s performance and facilitating consumers’ food and nutrition choices.

This work is supported by the Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture and the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Connecticut.