Matthew Rabbitt

Matthew P. Rabbitt



Matthew P. Rabbitt is an economist with the Food Assistance Branch in the Food Economics Division. His research primarily focuses on food security measurement and methodology, behavioral responses to food insecurity, and U.S. social safety net program participation. He also has a secondary line of research on measuring other forms of material hardships, such as housing security.

Matthew's primary fields of interest are applied econometrics and psychometrics, health economics, and labor economics.


Matthew joined the Economic Research Service in 2014. Previously, he was a graduate student, instructor, and research assistant at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Greensboro. While at UNC, Matthew's research focused on domestic food security and the well-being of low-income households. This work included the development of a new behavioral Rasch selection model to examine the causal effect of SNAP participation on food security, and the effect of underage drinking on college graduates' occupational choices.


Matthew holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a B.A. in Economics from Webster University. In addition, he has completed training at American University, Georgetown University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Western Australia.

Professional Affiliations

Matthew is a member of the American Economic Association, the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, the Society for Economic Measurement, the Society for Government Economists, and the Southern Economic Association.

Selected Publications

Kim, Jiyoon, Matthew P. Rabbitt, and Charlotte Tuttle. 2019. "Changes in Low-Income Households’ Spending and Time Use Patterns in Response to the 2013 Sunset of the ARRA-SNAP Benefit," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy: PPZ007.

Heflin, Colleen, Irma Arteaga, Leslie Hodges, Jean F. Ndashiyme, and Matthew P. Rabbitt. 2019. "SNAP Benefits and Childhood Asthma," Social Science & Medicine, 220: 203-211.

Tanaka, Victoria T., George Engelhard Jr., and Matthew P. Rabbitt. 2019. "Examining Differential Item Functioning in the Household Food Insecurity Scale: Does Participation in SNAP Affect Measurement Invariance?," Journal of Applied Measurement, 20(1):100-111.

Rabbitt, Matthew P. 2018. "Causal Inference with Latent Variables from the Rasch Model as Outcomes," Measurement, 120: 193-205.

Rabbitt, Matthew P. and Alisha Coleman-Jensen. 2017. "Rasch Analyses of the Standardized Spanish Translation of the U.S. Household Food Security Survey Module," Journal of Economic and Social Measurement, 42(2): 171-187.

Smith, Michael D., Matthew P. Rabbitt, and Alisha Coleman-Jensen. 2017. "Who are the World’s Food Insecure? New Evidence from the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Insecurity Experience Scale," World Development, 93: 402-412.

Engelhard Jr., George, Matthew P. Rabbitt, and Emily M. Engelhard. 2017. "Using Household Fit Indices to Examine the Psychometric Quality of Food Insecurity Measures," Educational and Psychological Measurement, 78(6): 1089-1107.

Rabbitt, Matthew P. 2016. "A Note on the Usefulness of the Behavioral Rasch Selection Model for Causal Inference in the Social Sciences," Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 772(1): Article ID 012048.

Gregory, Christian, Matthew P. Rabbitt, and David Ribar. 2015. "The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Food Insecurity," SNAP Matters: How Food Stamps Affect Health and Well-Being, J. Zilliak, J. Bartfield, T. Smeeding, and C. Gundersen, eds. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.