Laura Tiehen

Laura Tiehen

Senior Economist


Laura Tiehen is a senior economist with the Food Assistance Branch of the Food Economics Division at USDA’s Economic Research Service. Her research examines the use of Federal food assistance programs and nonprofit food assistance. She is particularly interested in the outcomes associated with use of food assistance—such as poverty, food security, and health-related behavior.


Laura is responsible for establishing agency research priorities and conducting research using micro-level administrative data for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). She has published her work in peer-reviewed professional journals, USDA reports, and in non-technical research summaries. Laura has provided briefings to USDA policy officials and collaborated with the World Bank to inform the efforts to improve food assistance program design in low- and middle-income countries. She served as a senior economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers, charged with providing the president objective economic advice on the formulation of economic policy, from July 2021 to July 2022.


Laura received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a B.A. in economics and Spanish from Lake Forest College.

Professional Affiliations

Laura is a member of the American Economic Association, the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, and the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association.

Selected Publications

Jolliffe, D., Margitic, J., Ravallion, M., & Tiehen, L. (2023). Food stamps and America's poorest. American Journal of Agricultural Economics. Advance online publication.

Tiehen, L., Vaughn, C., & Ziliak, J. (2021). Food insecurity in the PSID: A comparison with the levels, trends, and determinants in the CPS, 1999–2017. Journal of Economic and Social Measurement, 45(2), 103–108.

Dickert-Conlin, S., Fitzpatrick, K., Stacy, B., & Tiehen, L. (2020). The downs and ups of the SNAP caseload: what matters? Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, 43(3), 1026–1050.

Oliveira, V., Prell, M., Tiehen, L., & Smallwood, D. (2017). Evolution and Implementation of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in the United States. In Alderman, H., Gentilini, U. & Yemtsov, R. (Eds.). The 1.5 billion people question: food, vouchers, or cash transfers? Washington, DC: The World Bank.

Tiehen, L., Jolliffe, D. & Smeeding, T. (2015). The effect of SNAP on poverty. In Bartfeld, J., Gundersen, C., Smeeding, T. & Ziliak, J. (Eds.) SNAP Matters: How Food stamps affect health and well-being. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.