Karen E. Cunnyngham
Karen Cunnyngham is a senior researcher whose research focuses on federal nutrition assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). She is an expert on microsimulation modeling and using small area estimation techniques to estimate program eligibility and participation rates.
Cunnyngham, who has been with Mathematica for more than 10 years, is deputy project director and principal investigator for projects for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that use microsimulation to estimate the effects of potential changes in SNAP policy on benefit costs, eligibility, and participation. The projects also examine characteristics of SNAP participants, and estimate national and state SNAP participation rates. She also directs a project for USDA that is examining state trends in SNAP eligibility and participation among elderly individuals.
In recent years, Cunnyngham also directed projects to (1) estimate the effects on SNAP of eliminating California’s Supplemental Security Income cash-out policy; (2) assess how changes to SNAP asset and categorical eligibility policies are likely to affect program benefit costs, participant characteristics, and state-to-state equitability; and (3) provide estimates to the Congressional Budget Office on the effect of changes to SNAP.
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Cunnyngham has presented research findings to policy and professional groups. She holds an M.P.P. in public policy from the Maryland School of Public Policy, University of Maryland.
- Areas of Expertise
- Key Projects
- Federal nutrition assistance programs
- Microsimulation modeling and using small area estimation techniques to estimate program eligibility and participation rates
- Measuring Program Access, Trends, and Impacts for Nutrition Assistance Programs
- State Trends in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Eligibility and Participation Among Elderly Individuals
- Estimating the Effects on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program of Eliminating California’s Supplemental Security Income Cash-Out Policy