Do Drugstores Contribute to Urban Food Deserts?
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Problem | This project explores the possible role of competition from chain pharmacies in the lack of access to healthy foods in low-income neighborhoods by seeking to answer the question, “How and to what extent is the prevalence of chain pharmacies related to the prevalence of food stores in New York City?” Since any competition for commercial space between chain pharmacies and food stores should be greatest in low-income neighborhoods, and, in addition, should center on medium-sized food stores as opposed to small or large food stores, the correlation between pharmacy space and food store space should be more negative in low-income neighborhoods and for medium-sized food stores. Methodology | This project uses a dataset of all food retailers in NYC provided by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and compares the results from three multiple linear regression models relating chain pharmacy space to small- (Y1), medium- (Y2), and large-size (Y3) food store space across three community income levels. Results | As pharmacy space increased by 1 sqft/capita, small food store space in high-income neighborhoods increases by 0.55 sqft/capita (p<0.000). There was no significant relationship between pharmacy space and small food store space in low- or middle-income neighborhoods at the p=0.05 level. As pharmacy space increased by 1 sqft/capita, medium-sized food store space increased by 0.24 sqft/capita (p=0.001). This positive relationship did not vary across community income levels. As pharmacy space increased by 1 sqft/capita, large food store space increased by 0.45 sqft/capita (p=0.039). Again, this relationship did not vary across community income levels. Conclusion | The findings did not support the study hypothesis that the presence of chain pharmacies contributes to the creation of food deserts in New York City.
DepartmentPublic Policy Studies
Description2009 Honors Thesis in the Department of Public Policy Studies
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Rights for Collection: Undergraduate Honors Theses and Student papers