Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Food Access, Supermarket, Crime, Spatial Econometrics, GIS

Major Advisor

Dr. Ronald W. Cotterill

Associate Advisor

Dr. Rigoberto A. Lopez

Associate Advisor

Dr. Yizao Liu

Field of Study

Agricultural and Resource Economics


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Food access in the United States has become a major policy issue that has received increased attention due to concerns of equality, health, and economic development. Since the initial academic research began to call attention to this issue a variety of tools have been developed to help identify geographic areas that have limited access to food. Supermarkets have taken the main focus as they provide for opportunities for fresh foods, greater variety, and lower prices.

While the existing research has looked to describe factors that explain the characteristics of communities with reduced supermarket access, crime has often been ignored or misclassified as only a firm cost component. Furthermore, the relationship between crime and supermarkets is one that has not been adequately discussed in the food access literature. Thus I focus in this research on the endogenous relationship between crime and supermarket access, hypothesizing that not only does crime impact where supermarkets exist but also that supermarkets impact criminal activities as either an attractor for crime or a contribution to a healthy community that deters crime.

Using Geographical Information Systems I calculate multiple measures of supermarket access throughout Connecticut. I then use a spatial econometric model that controls for the hypothesized endogenous relationship as well as the geographic relationship of neighboring areas. Findings indicate that increases in specific types of crime result in better supermarket access but that increased supermarket access also attracts more criminal behavior. These results have great implications for future policies related to economic development and the continuation of incentives for addressing concerns about limited access to supermarkets.