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Agricultural Transformation, Nutrition Transition and Food Policy in Africa: Preston Curves Reveal New Stylised Facts

William Masters (), Nathaniel Z. Rosenblum and Robel Alemu ()

Journal of Development Studies, 2018, vol. 54, issue 5, 788-802

Abstract: This paper uses a Preston Curve approach to test for changes over time in agriculture, nutrition and food policy, comparing national averages in Africa and elsewhere at each level of national income per capita from the 1990s to the 2010s. Our statistical tests and data visualisations reveal that, at each level of income, African countries have faster rural population growth, a larger share of workers in agriculture and lower agricultural labour productivity than countries elsewhere, with no significant shift in these patterns from the 1990s to the 2010s. In contrast, there have been structural shifts towards less child stunting everywhere, and towards more adult obesity in high-income countries. The overall pattern of African governments’ food policies and government expenditures have not shifted, however, as they continue price interventions and low investment levels characteristic of low-income countries around the world.

Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2018.1430768

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