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Nutrition Inequality: The Role of Prices, Income, and Preferences

Noriko Amano-Patino

No 453, 2018 Meeting Papers from Society for Economic Dynamics

Abstract: In the U.S., lower income households have a less healthy consumption basket than higher income ones. This paper studies the drivers of such nutrition inequality. I use longitudinal home-scanner data to estimate a demand system on food products, and measure the contribution of prices, disposable income and preferences to nutrition inequality. Disposable income and preferences have a predominant and quantitatively similar role in explaining consumption basket differences across income groups. Instead, prices have a limited effect. Further, I merge nutritional label information to assess, through a series of counterfactual exercises, the effect of income subsidies on nutrition quality. For example, I show that increasing the budget of a low-income household to the average level of the higher income households (a 45% increase in food expenditures) leads to an increase in protein consumption of approximately 5% and a decrease in sugar consumption of approximately 10%.

Date: 2018
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr
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Working Paper: Nutritional Inequality: The Role of Prices, Income, and Preferences (2019) Downloads
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More papers in 2018 Meeting Papers from Society for Economic Dynamics Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA. Contact information at EDIRC.
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