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Asymmetric Intra-household Allocation of Calories in China: Implication for Demographic Bias and the Need for Demographic Targeting

Satoru Shimokawa

No 49115, 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin from Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

Abstract: This article questions the assumption of symmetric consumption behavior in the conventional analysis of intra-household calorie allocation. It proposes a framework that takes into account asymmetric consumption behavior due to liquidity constraints or loss aversion. Using panel data from China, we find that intra-household calorie allocation responds asymmetrically to expected declines and increases in household food availability, which is qualitatively consistent with the liquidity constraint model. Clarifying such asymmetric responses enables us to relate calorie elasticity estimates to the status of demographic groups within a household without requiring a full interpretation of the ordering of the estimates across demographic groups. Results also show that by ignoring such asymmetric responses, conventional analysis can underestimate demographic differences in calorie elasticity estimates and provide misleading implications about the need for demographic targeting in nutrition programs.

Keywords: Agricultural and Food Policy; Consumer/Household Economics; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Health Economics and Policy; International Development; Research Methods/ Statistical Methods (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 37
Date: 2009
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cna
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DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.49115

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