Leslie Hodges

Research Agricultural Economist


Leslie Hodges is a Research Agricultural Economist with the Food Assistance Branch of the Food Economics Division. She conducts research to inform evidence-based policymaking on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).


Leslie joined the Economic Research Service in August 2020. Her research focuses on how federal programs, including food assistance programs, child support, unemployment insurance, and Medicaid contribute to the economic well-being of families and children. She has contributed to a series of projects that examine how the timing of SNAP benefit receipt is related to health care utilization among SNAP and Medicaid participants in Missouri. She has also contributed to research on key child support policy issues, including barriers to employment and non-payment of child support, and to research on access to unemployment insurance benefits and their relationship to poverty and material hardships, including food insecurity.


Leslie recently completed a three-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She holds a Ph.D. in Public Affairs from the University of Missouri – Columbia; an M.A. in Political Science from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and a B.A. in English from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri.

Selected Publications

Heflin, C., L. Hodges, and C. Ojinnaka. 2020. “Administrative Churn in SNAP and Healthcare Utilization Patterns,” Medical Care, 58, 33 – 37.

Heflin, C., I. Arteaga, L. Hodges, F. Ndashimye, and M.P. Rabbitt. 2019. “SNAP Benefits and Childhood Asthma,” Social Science and Medicine, 220, 203-211.

Arteaga, I., C.M. Heflin, and L. Hodges. 2018. “SNAP Benefits and Pregnancy-Related Emergency Room Visits,” Population Research and Policy Review, 37(6), 1031052.

Heflin, C.M., L. Hodges, and P. Mueser. 2017. “SNAP Benefits and Emergency Room Visits for Hypoglycemia,” Public Health Nutrition, 20 (7), 1314-1321.