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Economies of Scale, Household Size, and the Demand for Food

Angus Deaton () and Christina Paxson

Working Papers from Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies

Abstract: In this paper, we demonstrate that the empirical evidence is exactly the opposite of the theo-retical predictions. With total household expenditure per capita (PCE) held constant, expenditure per head on food falls with the number of heads. The result appears to be quite general; we find it not only in the United States, but also in Britain and France, and more surprisingly, in Taiwan, Thailand, Pakistan and among African households in South Africa. The size of the effect is also contrary to the theoretical analysis. In the United States, Britain, and France, food consumption falls by only a small amount as the scale of the household increases.

Keywords: PUBLIC GOODS; FOOD; CONSUMPTION (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D11 D12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1997
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