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The use of economics in the evaluation of nutritional problems and policy

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  • Tim Ensor
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    Abstract

    Nutrition has recently assumed a far greater importance as individuals are increasingly concerned with what they eat. Environmental and global issues has stimulated a growing awareness about the effect of chemicals and intensive farming methods while on an individual level, growing affluence has meant that price is no longer of utmost importance to many consumers who concentrate instead on the variety and dietary quality of food. At the same time the poor, both in the industrialised economies and in LDCs, continue to find it difficult to maintain basic nutritional levels. This is despite the expectation that agricultural technology could relieve such problems. There are therefore important nutritional issues to be addressed both of quality and quantity and how these affect health status, productive capacity and individual welfare. Economists have contributed to this evaluation by analysing nutritional problems of both quantity and quality. A framework within which nutrition policy is evaluated can be constructed from economic theory that considers the possible justifications for intervening in markets and the methods of undertaking such action. The aims of this review are: firstly, to show how economics has contributed to the study of nutrition; secondly, to examine how an economic framework can be used to analyse the efficacy and desirability of policy intervention; and finally to look at potential areas for further study.

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    File URL: http://www.york.ac.uk/media/che/documents/papers/discussionpapers/CHE%20Discussion%20Paper%2077.pdf
    File Function: First version, 1990
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Centre for Health Economics, University of York in its series Working Papers with number 077chedp.

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    Length: 32 pages
    Date of creation: Oct 1990
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:chy:respap:77chedp

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    Keywords: nutrition; human capital theory;

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    1. Culyer, A J, 1971. "The Nature of the Commodity 'Health Care' and Its Efficient Allocation," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 189-211, July.
    2. Bliss, Christopher & Stern, Nicholas, 1978. "Productivity, wages and nutrition : Part II: Some observations," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(4), pages 363-398, December.
    3. Glaister, Stephen, 1974. "Advertising Policy and Returns to Scale in Markets where Information is Passed Between Individuals," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 41(162), pages 139-56, May.
    4. Bliss, C. J. & Stern, N. H., 1982. "Palanpur: The Economy of an Indian Village," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198284192, October.
    5. Cropper, M L, 1977. "Health, Investment in Health, and Occupational Choice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(6), pages 1273-94, December.
    6. Dasgupta, Partha & Ray, Debraj, 1987. "Inequality as a Determinant of Malnutrition and Unemployment: Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(385), pages 177-88, March.
    7. Horton, Susan, 1986. "Child nutrition and family size in the Philippines," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 161-176, September.
    8. Selowsky, Marcelo, 1981. "Nutrition, health and education: The economic significance of complementarities at early age," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 331-346, December.
    9. Wolfe, Barbara L. & Behrman, Jere R., 1982. "Determinants of child mortality, health, and nutrition in a developing country," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 163-193, October.
    10. Culyer, A J, 1971. "Merit Goods and the Welfare Economics of Coercion," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 26(4), pages 546-72.
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