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Michele Ver Ploeg



Michele (Shelly) Ver Ploeg is an economist with the Food Assistance Branch, Food Economics Division. Her research focuses on obesity and food assistance program participation and on the well-being and health outcomes of children participating in the WIC program. She recently led a Congressionally mandated study on access to affordable and nutritious foods.


Shelly joined the Economic Research Service in October 2004. Prior to joining ERS, she was a study director for the Committee on National Statistics at The National Academies. In this role, she directed studies on estimating eligibility and participation in the WIC Program, data and methods for evaluating welfare reform, and a review of the Department of Health and Human Services Collection of Race and Ethnicity Data.


Shelly has a Ph.D. in Policy Analysis and Management from Cornell University and a B.A. in Economics from Central College.

Professional Affiliations:

Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management American Statistical Association Population Association of America Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

Selected Publications:

Ver Ploeg, Michele, Hung-Hao Chang, and Biing-Hwan Lin, "Over, Under, or About Right: Misperceptions of Body Weight among Food Stamp Participants", Obesity, 16(9): 2120-25, 2008.

Ver Ploeg, Michele and Constance F. Citro, "Poverty Measurement: Orshansky's Original Measures and the Development of Alternatives", Review of Agricultural Economics, 30(3): 581-90, 2008.

Ver Ploeg, Michele, Lisa Mancino, Biing-Hwan Lin, and Joanne Guthrie, "U.S. Food Assistance Programs and Trends in Childrens Weight", International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, 3(1): 22-30, 2008.

Ver Ploeg, Michele, Lisa Mancino, Biing-Hwan Lin, and Chia-Yih Wang, "The Vanishing Weight Gap: Trends in Obesity among Adult Food Stamp Participants (US) (1976-2002)", Economics & Human Biology, 5(1): 20-36, 2007.

Ver Ploeg, Michele, Lisa Mancino, and Biing-Hwan Lin, "Food Stamps and Obesity: Complex Puzzle or Ironic Twist?" USDA, ERS, Amber Waves, 4(1):32-39, February 2006.

Ver Ploeg, M. "Pre-Exit Benefit Receipt and Employment Histories and Post-Exit Outcomes of Welfare Leavers," in Studies of Welfare Populations: Data Collection and Research Issues . (R.A. Moffitt and C.F. Citro, eds.), Washington, DC: National Academy Press, January 2002.

Ver Ploeg, M. "Children from Disrupted Families as Adults: Family Structure and College Completion," Economics of Education Review 21(2002).

Ver Ploeg, M. and D. Betson (eds). "Estimating Eligibility and Participation for the WIC Program: Final Report," Report of the Panel to Evaluate the USDAs Methodology for Estimating Eligibility for and Participation in the WIC Program, (Edited with David Betson), National Academies Press, 2003.

Ver Ploeg, M. Studies of Welfare Populations: Data Collection and Research Issues, (Edited with Robert Moffitt and Constance Citro), Washington, DC: National Academies Press, 2002.

Moffitt, R.A. and M. Ver Ploeg (eds) "Evaluating Welfare Reform in an Era of Transition," Report of the Panel on Data and Methods for Measuring the Effects of Changes in Social Welfare Programs, National Academies Press, 2001.

Last updated: Tuesday, August 02, 2016

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